Baffling questions about Indian lady in Pearl case -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Baffling questions about Indian lady in Pearl case

ISLAMABAD- Security agencies are probing several baffling questions pertaining to the unauthorised stay of an American passport holder Indian Muslim lady, Asra Q Nomani, with whom the kidnapped Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl had been living in Karachi.

The abducted journalist’s worried wife is also putting up with Ms Nomani at a house in Karachi that the latter got on monthly rental of Rs 40,000 a few months back. According to the documents available with the news source, Ms Nomani, as a journalist, had applied for visa to the Pakistan’s press counsellor in New York on September 19, 2001 to cover the happenings in Pakistan immediately after the September 11 incident that was refused. However, she later got the visa from Pakistan Embassy in Washington, and on October 19, 2001 requested the External Publicity Wing (EPW) of the Information Ministry for its extension on behalf of Salon.Com.

The EPW issued the recommendation to the Interior Ministry for extension of Ms Nomani’s visa for 15 days. After the expiry of this period, she never reported to the EPW or any other agency of Pakistan government and disappeared.

It was discovered by security agencies during investigation of Pearl’s kidnapping that Ms Nomani has got a house on rent in Karachi where she and Pearl have been living. The lady wrote in her request to the press counsellor that she wanted to visit Pakistan, her ancestor’s birthplace. She was married to a Pakistani national but the marriage broke after three months.

In her one page hand-written letter to the press counsellor, Ms Nomani said: “. . . I believe there is no journalist who can give you my unique combination of professional integrity, audience and personal understanding of Pakistan and Islam.” “. . . I am one of America’s senior Muslim journalists, a veteran of the Wall Street Journal since 1988. I have covered everything from Wall Street to the White House. I am currently writing a book for Harper Collins Publishers [New York] regarding religion and it’s reporting has taken me to my extended family’s homes throughout Pakistan. The Internet magazine, which reaches millions, Salon.Com, has hired me to send dispatches of the true humanity of this crisis unfolding in the region of my birth.”

Continuing, Ms Nomani wrote: “I uniquely understand the pulse that beats strong in Pakistan because it is the pulse of my 65 years old Dadi in Lahore, my ‘Chachas’ in Karachi, my ‘Phuppi’ in Islamabad.” Salon.Com had also issued “To Whom it May Concern” letter to Ms Nomani that confirmed that she would be working as a journalist for Salon during her travels abroad. The documents showed Latif Manzil, Village Jaigahan, District Jaunpur, Uttar Pradesh, as her address in India with her phone number 91-22-3675712 in Mumbai. Ms Nomani lives in Queens, New York, and her residence phone number is 718- 4310341.

Source: The News
Date:2/3/2002