Pakistan's ISI wins apology over claim it shot Hamid Mir

Image copyright AP
Image caption Supporters of the military put up posters in support of the ISI and its chief Zaheer ul-Islam

Pakistan's Jang media group has apologised to the country's feared ISI intelligence agency for its coverage of the shooting of journalist Hamid Mir.

The group's newspapers carried front page adverts calling its coverage "excessive, distressful and emotional".

Geo TV, which is owned by Jang, aired accusations by Mr Mir and his family that the ISI was behind the attack.

Observers say the apology is part of efforts to placate the military which is pressing for Geo to be banned.

The adverts were carried in Jang and The News, two of Pakistan's leading newspapers.

"The Jang group wants to categorically state that it has the greatest regard and respect for the armed forces of Pakistan and its leadership. It was never our intention to malign or offend any institution or person," the apology said.

Jang conceded that its coverage had been "misleading, disproportionate and inappropriate, giving [the] impression of a campaign".

"This caused deep hurt to ISI as an institution, its director general Lt Gen Zaheer ul-Islam, members of his family, the rank and file of the armed forces and a large number of our viewers. We deeply apologise for hurting them all."

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Geo's high-profile presenter Hamid Mir survived being shot six times in Karachi

Last week, Jang's newspapers carried full-page adverts apologising for a morning show on Geo that led to charges of blasphemy by the religious lobby.

The channel, once Pakistan's most-watched, has been accused of unprofessional conduct by the military and treachery by its business rivals.

It says it has lost more than 80% of its viewers in the month since Mr Mir was shot six times in Karachi.

He survived and is recovering. Who attacked him remains unclear.

Pakistan's media regulator Pemra is set to consider the ISI's complaint against Geo on Wednesday.

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