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Amir Mir is a Pakistani journalist who is currently the Deputy Editor/Editor Investigations for the English-language Pakistani daily The News International, based in Lahore. His areas of special interest include al-Qaeda and Taliban-linked militant and jihadi organisations, terrorism, intelligence agencies, armed forces, religious and political parties, and sectarian and ethnic groups.
His paternal grandfather, Mir Abdul Aziz was a poet of the Urdu, Punjabi and Persian languages. His father, Prof. Waris Mir, was a writer. Amir Mir’s eldest brother Hamid Mir is also a Pakistani columnist and television anchor affiliated with Geo TV network while his younger brother Imran Mir works for Pakistan Television Corporation (PTV). An elder brother Faisal Mir is an industrialist.
Education and early career
Amir Mir graduated from Government College University in Lahore with majors in Political Science, Sociology and Psychology. He started his career as a reporter while studying for a master's degree in Political Science from the University of Punjab Lahore in 1989 at 20 years of age. In 1993, he became a part of Pakistan’s English daily The News International and worked as a team member of the News Bureau of Investigation. From then to 2001, Mir wrote on the political problems and issues of Pakistan. Along with The News, Mir also wrote for various publications home and abroad such as the Inter Press Service, the Straits Times, the Gulf News and weekly The Friday Times and Monthly Newsline.
Criticism of Musharraf
Amir Mir has been an outspoken critic of former Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf, condemning him as a military dictator who violated Pakistan's democracy and constitution. When he was declared the best reporter of 2005 by the All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS), he refused to accept the award as it was to be presented by Musharraf. He also criticised the APNS for inviting Musharraf, who Mir said was a military dictator who did not respect the freedom of expression. In his book The True Face of Jehadis: Inside Pakistan's Network of Terror, Mir claims that Musharraf himself believes in Islamic fundamentalism. Mir accuses Musharraf of making half-hearted efforts to curb radical Islamic groups operating in Pakistan.
In early 2001, Amir Mir left daily The News, Weekly The Friday Times and Monthly Newsline to launch the Weekly Independent, an English news magazine, as the project director cum editor.
Amir Mir has so far authored four books on the subject of Islamic militancy and terrorism. While his first book – “The True Face of Jehadis” – was published by the Lahore-based Mashal Books in 2006, its Indian edition was published by the New Delhi-based Roli Books the same year. The Japanese edition got into print in 2008 by Tokyo-based The English Agency. The second book – “The Fluttering Flag of Jehad”- was also published by the Mashal Books in 2008. The third book – “Talibanization of Pakistan: From 9/11 to 26/11” was published by the New Delhi-based Pentagon Press in 2009. The fourth book – “The Bhutto Murder Trail: From Waziristan to GHQ” – was published in 2010 by the New Delhi-based Tranquebar Press, both in English and Hindi. Much before that, Amir Mir had co-authored – “Most Wanted: Profiles of Terror”– published by the Roli Books in 2002, in addition to writing foreword to another book “A to Z of Jehadi Organizations”, published by the Mashal Books in 2004.
Mir has been criticised within Pakistan for writing articles that are claimed to be damaging to Pakistan's standing in the world. Maj. Gen. Rashid Qureshi of the Pakistani army accused Mir of being an "Indian agent" after he published an article in Outlook, an Indian news magazine. Mir has claimed harassment from officials in the Pakistani government and has reportedly told friends and family that president Pervez Musharraf was to be held responsible for any harm to his life or person. In a report highlighting threats to press freedom in Pakistan, Human Rights Watch claimed that Mir had been threatened by Musharraf, and claimed that Mir's car was set on fire in November 2003 as an act of intimidation and harassment.
US drone strikes
Mir has been critical of US Predator drone attacks in Pakistan, stating that large numbers of civilians have been killed. On 10 April 2009, Mir told the Pakistan newspaper The News International that 687 civilians and only 14 high-value Al Qaeda targets were killed so far in the strikes. On 1 February 2010, Mir also stated that 123 civilians and 3 Al Qaeda fighters were killed in 10 drone strikes in January 2010. The Jamestown Foundation criticised Mir's numbers, stating that there had been 16.5 suspected militants killed for every civilian as of June 2010, according to the foundation's analysis of Western and Pakistani news sources. The Long War Journal, through reports from various media outlets and US intelligence officials, also estimated in July 2011 that the drone strikes in Pakistan had killed 2,018 militants and only 138 civilians since 2006.
- Sreeram Chaulia (26 August 2006). "Book Review: Deadly double game – The True Face of Jehadis: Inside Pakistan's Network of Terror". Asia Times. Archived from the original on 31 October 2010. Retrieved 2010-09-18.
- "RSF condemns threats against journalist Amir Mir". IFEX – Human Rights Watch. 8 December 2003. Retrieved 2010-09-18.
- "Editor threatened, his car set on fire; journalist tortured by military". IFEX – Human Rights Watch. 3 December 2003. Retrieved 2010-09-18.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 18 February 2015. Retrieved 2015-03-15.