ISLAMABAD, Nov 26: Hamid Mir, the television anchor and journalist, escaped an attempt on his life on Monday as police defused a bomb placed under his car in Islamabad. The Taliban had criticised Hamid Mir last month after the shooting of Malala Yousufzai, the teenage activist from Swat.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but the device was found stuck under the front passenger seat of his car, police said.

“It was a remote-controlled improvised explosive device. The IED was strapped to a fuse, detonator and six batteries. However, there must have been some error as one of the wires attached to the detonator was found dislocated,” a police official told reporters.

Hamid Mir, who hosts a current affairs programme on Geo Television, said he had been receiving threats from “state and non-state actors” for the past couple of months. “I had received a threatening text message on my mobile phone in January and took Interior Minister Rehman Malik and the inspector general of Islamabad police into confidence,” he said. “During investigations, we came to know that `some non-serious persons belonging to the security forces’ had sent the SMS to me.”

Mr Mir said the Taliban were unhappy with him after he conducted programmes about Malala Yousufzai.

DEMONSTRATION: Representatives and office-bearers of the Rawalpindi Islamabad Union of Journalists and the National Press Club held a demonstration to condemn the incident, calling upon the government to ensure safety of journalists.

The RIUJ and the NPC office-bearers decided to observe Wednesday as a “special day” to highlight the dangers besetting journalists.

Farooq Faisal Khan, the NPC president, and RIUJ chief Waqar Satti urged the government to take steps for protection of journalists.

Agencies add: Interior Minister Rehman Malik offered a cash reward of Rs50 million for anyone with information about who was behind the conspiracy to assassinate the journalist.

“Had it exploded it would have blown the car into pieces,” Mr Malik told reporters, offering Mr Mir additional protection.