Islamabad: A Pakistani journalist and TV anchor escaped an attempt on his life on Monday when explosives were found attached to his car`s under-carriage here in the Pakistani capital, media reports said.
Hamid Mir, a senior anchor in Geo TV, was returning home from a market in Islamabad when his neighbour`s driver spotted a suspicious object attached to the under-carriage of Mir`s car.
The bomb was apparently planted when he stopped at a market. The explosive device was found stuck right under the front passenger seat of the car, police said.
A bomb disposal squad was immediately called and it successfully defused the bomb containing around half a kg of explosive material, Geo News reported. The material included a battery, a detonator and ball bearings.
Mir was criticised by the Pakistani Taliban last month in the wake of the shooting of teenaged rights activist Malala Yousafzai.
Intelligence officials earlier said that an intercepted Taliban message suggested suicide bombers have been assigned to attack journalists, with Geo TV at the top of the list of targets because of its coverage of the Malala attack.
"It`s a message to me as well as Geo and the journalist community in Pakistan. They want to stop us from speaking the truth but I want to tell them that we will not be deterred," Mir was later quoted as saying.
According to the international organisation Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), as many as 64 journalists have been killed in Pakistan since 1992.
Micro-blogging website Twitter was abuzz with condemnation against the assassination attempt.
Noted Pakistani human rights activist Ansar Burney wrote on Twitter: "Strongly condemn targeted attempt on Hamid Mir life by planting heavy explosive under his car (sic)."
Umar Cheema, an investigative journalist at The News, wrote: "Stay safe @HamidMirGeo. You`re precious, I told you every time... you`re the bravest journalist I have seen in my life. But please remember it is important to STAY ALIVE to FIGHT.... HamidMirGeo fought for all, even those fighting each others. We have to zealously guard you my friend. Brave like you aren`t born everyday."
Fiza Batool Gilani, Pakistan`s goodwill ambassador for women`s empowerment, wrote: "Strongly condemn the cowardly attempt on life of @HamidMirGEO. May Allah be with you. Stay strong & steadfast!"