Pakistan journalist critical of intelligence agencies, military survives shooting attack

KARACHI (AFP) - Unknown gunmen on motorbikes opened fire at a prominent Pakistani television anchor on a busy road in the southern port city of Karachi on Saturday, officials said.

Mr Hamid Mir, who hosts a popular talk-show on Geo News, was travelling to his office from the airport when his car came under attack, senior police official Peer Muhammad Shah told AFP.

"Four gunmen riding on motorbikes started firing at the car near Karsaz (around six kilometres from Jinnah International Airport) when Mir's car was passing through, he received three bullets in the lower parts of his body," Mr Shah said.

Mr Mir has long been a critic of the country's powerful intelligence agencies and military for their alleged role in the disappearance of thousands of people in the restive south-western province of Baluchistan.

Last year, he survived a bomb attack in Islamabad when a bomb planted under his car was defused before it could go off.

Karachi police chief Shahid Hayat confirmed the incident on Saturday.

"Hamid Mir has received three bullets but the doctors told me that he is out of danger," Mr Hayat told AFP.

Geo's Islamabad bureau chief Rana Jawad said he had talked briefly to Mr Mir on his mobile phone as he was under attack.

"I spoke to him briefly when he was escaping, he said they have shot him and now they were following him," Mr Jawad told AFP.

"He has been shot thrice, in the pelvic, abdomen and thighs," he added.

Mr Mir, who hosts the longest running talk-show on Geo News, had complained of receiving death threats from the country's powerful intelligence agency.

Last month Raza Rumi, a prominent television anchor known for his outspoken views against the Taleban, survived a similar assassination attempt in Lahore.

Mr Rumi's driver died of the injuries he sustained.