Daniel Pearl remains traceless -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Daniel Pearl remains traceless

KARACHI- Police on Friday night and Saturday thoroughly searched all the well-known cemeteries in the city and its suburban areas after they received an electronic message that the American journalist, Daniel Pearl, had been killed and his body dumped in a cemetery.

Sources in police said they had carried out an overnight extensive search in all cemeteries in the city and its outskirts, but they had not found any dead body dumped there, which strengthened the hope that Daniel was alive. “We searched the cemeteries again in daylight, but we have found no dead body dumped in any of the cemeteries,” a senior police official said.

The sources said a caller, who had rang up the US embassy in Islamabad and demanded two million US dollars in ransom besides asking for the release of Mulla Zaeef and 25 others, had been traced and picked up for investigation. However, the Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Karachi (Operation), Tariq Jamil, denied any such arrest, saying that no such suspect was in police custody.

A senior official said one of the suspects in the case, Pir Mubarak Shah Gilani, had been interrogated by the Karachi police and other law-enforcement agencies. A team of the Federal Investigation Bureau (FBI) of the USA had also interrogated Gilani, the official said. But police did not get any substantive information from Gilani, which could help make any breakthrough in the case.

Police had also picked up the driver of Mubarak Shah and another man associated with him in Mansehra, North West Frontier Province (NWFP), and brought them to Karachi for interrogation, the police official said.

He said police had verified the calls received on the mobile phone, which was in the use of Daniel Pearl, and some of the suspicious calls had been identified. When the mobile phone, from which calls were made to Daniel, were verified from the companies concerned, it came to light that the mobile phone had been issued on a fake name and address. The mobile phone, which was in the use of Daniel, had also been issued in the name of some other person.

Police had raided a place in Karachi from where the electronic message was sent to The Wall Street Journal, and strict surveillance was being maintained at the place to keep a watch on the movement of the suspected persons, the police official said.

“Police have also deployed their persons in plain clothes at that place, but no arrest has so far been made,” he added. He did not identify the place for reason of secrecy of investigation.

Another electronic mail originated from Lahore, the senior police official said. He said an e-mail account could easily be created in a fake name and with a fake identity. The suspects created a new account to send their electronic mail for one time only as they did not use it again, which was proving a hurdle in the way of tracing them out.

“All information about the kidnapping of Daniel Pearl is coming out of electronic messages being received by the media. The kidnappers have not contacted Daniel’s wife, the local police or the government,” he said, adding that the motive for the kidnapping was still not known as the e-mail messages contradicted one another, which showed that either the kidnappers were themselves confused or they wanted to confuse the investigators.

Source: Dawn
Date:2/3/2002