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Geo TV chief linked to ex-ISI man’s killing
Surya Gangadharan, CNN-IBN
New Delhi: The Pakistani media was rocked by a controversy after leading news channel Geo TV’s chief Hamid Mir was heard speaking to the Taliban over telephone.
His conversation allegedly led to the killing of a former ISI officer. But Mir has denied all reports, saying, “it’s a conspiracy hatched by President Zardari to defame me.”
Mir is widely believed to have the inside track of every newsworthy story in Pakistan, until he became the story. It began over the weekend as an audio tape purportedly carrying the recording of a conversation between the TV icon Hamid Mir and the Taliban.
In the tape, Mir is apparently heard detailing ex-ISI officer Khalid Khwaja’s links with the CIA and an international Qadiani network. The tape also describes Khwaja’s hand in Mir’s dismissal from the Ausaf newspaper. That information apparently led a Taliban allied group Asian Tigers to kidnap Khwaja and kill him later.
“None of this is true. I never said these things to those people. This is a concocted tape. They took my voice, sampled it and manufactured this conspiracy against me,” Mir told the Guardian.
He claims President Zadari is behind the conspiracy. His aim is not just to tarnish him but to diminish the Jang Group which runs the Geo TV network, Mir adds.
Mir wrote: “For some time, the government has been taking many actions to financially damage the Geo-Jang group because this group has refused to toe the official line. The PPP leadership wants to give a message to the whole media that if they do not behave, this government will treat them like Pervez Musharraf did.”
Mir has sworn legal action against those behind the campaign. He also got some help from the Taliban who dismissed the tape as a fake.