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The ISI-Geo News episode has brought to the fore­front the many in­se­cu­ri­ties that the Pak­istani me­dia deems it­self a vic­tim of – per­haps due to the many lib­er­ties that it is now in the habit of tak­ing in the name of free ex­pres­sion.

The at­tack on Hamid Mir in Karachi on April 19 has pit­ted Geo News against the ISI in a con­fronta­tion which the na­tion could have done with­out. Geo News ac­cused the ISI and its Di­rec­tor Gen­eral for or­ches­trat­ing the at­tack but had noth­ing to put for­ward by way of ev­i­dence to sup­port its al­le­ga­tions. The ISI too, for its part, con­demned the at­tack but in­voked the De­fence Min­istry to ap­proach PEMRA (the Pak­istan Elec­tronic Me­dia Reg­u­la­tory Author­ity), to con­duct a thor­ough in­ves­ti­ga­tion into Geo’s pos­si­ble vi­o­la­tion of cer­tain clauses in its broad­cast­ing li­cense.

While most me­dia houses put in their lot with the Army, Geo too back-tracked on its ear­lier stand and came out with sup­port for the Armed Forces and the ISI. The episode, nev­er­the­less, brought for­ward the huge size that Geo has grown into as a me­dia or­ga­ni­za­tion, some say with for­eign money. The stand-off also set the tone for the fu­ture of me­dia-armed forces re­la­tions in Pak­istan. Strangely, the demo­cratic govern­ment wit­nessed the af­fair fromm the side­li­nes­sidel like an in­no­cent by­stander.

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