Pakistani journalist Hamid Mir and Osama bin Laden
Two weeks ago, the blog Let us Build Pakistan published the transcript of a recorded conversation between prominent Pakistani journalist Hamid Mir and an unnamed person thought to be a senior member of the Pakistan Taliban.
The transcript seems to show Mir providing information to the Taliban member about Khalid Khwaja, a former Pakistani airforce pilot who was murdered in Waziristan recently, having been captured by a previously unknown group called the Asian Tigers.
Khwaja was kidnapped along with a former ISI officer and British journalist Asad Qureshi and held for several weeks before he was executed. The suggestion is that information provided by Mir to the Taliban may have sealed Khwaja's fate. The conversation took place while Khwaja was still alive and in the custody of the Asian Tigers.
Mir informs his contact that he believes Khwaja to have been working for the CIA and lists a number of alleged 'crimes'. He urges that he be further interrogated by his Taliban-linked captors. Within days of the conversation Khwaja was dead and had been left by the side of the road close to Mir Ali in North Waziristan.
You can read a transcript of the tape, which first surfaced on the ISI fan page on facebook, here.
The following day Hamid Mir answered the points raised against him, saying that the "concocted tape" was fabricated and that it was part of a government plot to discredit him because he was a vociferous critic.
His statement was accompanied by an alleged press release from the Pakistan Taliban on behalf of the Asian Tigers, also acquitting Mir of any blame and saying that no conversation had taken place between them and the journalist. You can read both here. Neither has much merit.
It is well known that Mir has long had connections with the jihadis in Pakistan and al-Qaeda. After all, he interviewed bin Laden three times - more than any other journalist. In 2007 former President Musharraf declared him a Taliban sympathiser and banned him from Geo TV for more than four months. If the recent tape turns out to be true, he should be banished from the airwaves for ever and prosecuted for incitement to murder.