Does the public have the right to know about the progress, if any, that has so far been made into the attack on Hamid Mir in Karachi, on April 19th earlier this year? Has the commission interviewed all the relevant authorities and finished its report? Will its contents be shared with the public? Or will it never see the light of day as in the case of Hayatullah Khan – a journalist who was murdered in 2006 after which other members of his family met the same fate when they tried to pursue his case – and Abbottabad commission report? In Saleem Shehzad’s case, another journalist who was murdered in 2011 in Islamabad, the commission’s report was indeed released. However, it carried no conclusive findings or substance in relation to the case in particular. That is perhaps why it was deemed appropriate for public viewing. Anything too real or damning is wrapped under the sheets, leaving us forever vulnerable and at the mercy of those responsible.

We are familiar with the controversy that unfolded after the attack on Hamid Mir’s life. The country’s premier intelligence agency, the ISI, had been blamed by Mir’s family and the organisation he worked for. This paper’s stance on the Geo News’ controversial coverage is a matter of record. Regardless, if Mir still points towards the same entity, does it merit an impartial and thorough investigation? Does the commission enjoy the power and will to call in the accused for questioning? If they refuse to appear, is there anything anyone can do about it? Will it ever be possible for people living in this country to demand accountability and transparency without fear of being labelled as traitors or worse, sudden death? Is it not true that an investigation is just as much a means to declare someone innocent as much as it is for finding them guilty? Why then is it considered such an outrageous proposition by the powers that be, especially when it is firmly insisted that there is no foul play involved? Entities which routinely express unwillingness to co-operate and submit before law should be mindful of the implications such behaviour carries. It only serves to solidify suspicions, however misguided they may be, and undermines the functioning of the state by negating rule of law.

The fact of the matter is that Hamid Mir was chased on the streets of Karachi in broad daylight and shot several times. There is no reason to believe that such an incident will not occur in the future, which is simply unacceptable. The attackers, whoever they were, remain at large. It is the responsibility of relevant authorities to apprehend them and present them before a court of law. No one is asking for a favour here, but merely calling on them to do the job they are paid for.