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Shot Pakistani TV anchor stable

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(GlobalPost/GlobalPost)

A leading Pakistani journalist and TV anchor who was shot three times in an attack in Karachi is conscious and in a stable condition, his hospital said Monday.

Hamid Mir, who hosts a prime-time current affairs talk show on the Geo News channel, was attacked on Saturday while travelling by car to his office from the airport in Karachi.

The government has announced a special commission to investigate the attack and offered a $100,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of those responsible.

A spokesman for Karachi's Aga Khan University Hospital said Mir was "conscious and stable".

The shooting came less than a month after gunmen tried to murder another prominent liberal journalist, Raza Rumi, known for criticising the Taliban.

Rumi survived the attack but his driver was killed.

Mir has survived previous attempts on his life including a bomb under his car last year which police defused before it could go off.

He has long been a critic of the country's powerful intelligence agencies and military for their alleged role in the abduction of thousands of people in the restive southwestern province of Baluchistan.

Imran Aslam, the president of Geo, said Mir himself would lodge the official police complaint about the attack -- known in Pakistan as a first information report (FIR) -- as soon as he is able.

"We are waiting for Hamid's early recovery so that he could himself lodge the FIR," Aslam told AFP.

He said Mir's condition was stable but he was "not in a position to lodge the FIR".

"Let's hope he gets better and back to work with renewed vigour."

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif visited Mir in hospital and said the judicial commission was starting work to investigate the shooting.

Journalists held rallies on Monday in Islamabad and Karachi to protest against Mir's shooting.

"We are here to show that whatever the outcome is, we are with him, and we want to go to the very end of this matter and bring the culprits to justice," said Aaj TV presenter Mushtaq Manhaz at the protest in Islamabad.

The wounded presenter's brother Amir Mir, also a journalist, on Saturday accused the powerful Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency of responsibility for the attack.

The military denied the allegations against the ISI in a statement, saying they were baseless, and condemned the shooting.

The News daily on Monday published a statement from Jang Group, which owns the newspaper and Geo TV, stressing they did not blame "any institution or section of any institution".

But it went on to say the ISI had been "continuously and strongly complaining" to editors about journalists, particularly Mir.

Last month Pakistan announced it would set up a special commission to protect journalists and would include press freedom as part of peace talks with the Taliban.

Rights groups have called Pakistan one of the world's most dangerous countries for journalists.

Media watchdog Reporters Without Borders says seven reporters lost their lives in Pakistan last year.

ak-ga/pdw/lto

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/140421/shot-pakistani-tv-anchor-stable-1