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NEW YORK: Pakistani authorities must swiftly and impartially investigate death threats and online harassment targeting prominent television anchor Hamid Mir and ensure his safety, the Committee to Protect Journalists said on Thursday.

Mir, who hosts the flagship political show “Capital Talk” on local television and has survived at least two previous assassination attempts, told CPJ that he had received multiple death threats on social media and warnings that his life was in danger from two journalists familiar with the situation. Mir had reported the threats to the police last week in the capital, Islamabad, but they had yet to register a First Information Report needed to open an investigation.

On April 28, journalist Imran Riaz Khan posted on X, formerly Twitter, that he had been told that “preparations are being made to take actions” against Mir for his comments in support of freedom of speech in Pakistan, where journalists say they are often harassed and attacked by the military, political groups, and criminals.

Mir also told CPJ that he saw at least two people filming him last week while he was in his vehicle near his Islamabad home but they ran away when he approached them. Mir also reported this to the police.

On April 24, Mir filed a complaint to the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), which investigates cybercrimes, asking the agency to register a case against Jan Achakzai, the former information minister of Balochistan province, for repeatedly insulting Mir on X, including calling him a “traitor.” In the complaint, reviewed by CPJ, Mir said that Achakzai’s “malicious attacks” undermined his credibility and jeopardized his safety.

On May 1, Achakzai said on X that he had been summoned to appear at the FIA’s Cybercrime Reporting Center on May 3. He criticized Mir for advocating for freedom of expression and for using his show to talk to separatists in Balochistan.

“The threats and online hate campaign against one of Pakistan’s most prominent television anchors illustrate the severity of intimidation and pressure faced by journalists in Pakistan,” said CPJ Asia Program Coordinator Beh Lih Yi . “Pakistani security agencies must immediately act against those trying to silence Hamid Mir and hold them accountable.”

CPJ’s text messages to information minister Attaullah Tarar and Syed Shahzad Nadeem Bukhari, deputy Inspector General of Police in Islamabad, requesting comment on the threats against Mir did not receive any replies.

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