Ex-FIFA referee detained in Pearl case -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Ex-FIFA referee detained in Pearl case

KARACHI- A former FIFA referee has been picked up by police in connection with the high-profile kidnapping of Wall Street Journal correspondent Daniel Pearl.

Ahmed Ali was taken into custody from his Malir residence a few days ago, a highly-reliable source disclosed this on Wednesday. The source further said that the referee had been detained at the Saudabad Police Station and top police officials were investigating the matter.

“Owing to the sensitivity of the case, the Interior Ministry in Islamabad is monitoring the interrogation, being carried out with the referee,” he said and added that all the attempts made by his family to get him released remained fruitless. The source said Ahmed Ali, an employee of the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), was once the office-bearer of a mosque in Malir Colony, where Sheikh Omar, a prime suspect in the kidnapping case, used to go to offer prayers.

“All the office-bearers of the mosque have been interrogated by the police to get some clue to the Pearl’s whereabouts,” the source said. Some of his colleagues — football referees — confirmed Ali’s detention, but refused to throw light on the case. “I was told that Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Operations Tariq Jamil is himself handling the investigation and as soon as the enquiry concludes he would be released,” said one referee on the condition of anonymity.

The family sources said that the former referee had been detained unlawfully for the last five days and they were using all means to set him free. Agencies add: Investigators insisted on Wednesday they are on the trail of Pearl’s abductors but there was still no indication of whether he is alive or dead. “We have identified the gang and we are looking for them,” the home secretary of Sindh province, Brigadier Mukhtar Sheikh, said. “We’re definitely on it and have already arrested the prime suspect and identified his accomplices. “Such cases do take time, even months and years, but we are very near and I am confident that it will be resolved much earlier than that.”

One of the senior civilian investigators, Jamil Yusuf, said “60 per cent of the case” had already been solved. “Where can they go?” he said of Pearl’s captors. “The manhunt is on.” “We have already resolved the case 60 per cent, arrested a prime suspect and three people accused of sending the e-mails; we will resolve the remaining 40 per cent.”

A spokesman for the Sindh Home Department on Wednesday said that leads have been developed to recover Pearl.

Following is the text of his statement: “The teams of Sindh police continued efforts for the recovery of Daniel Pearl. Police are working on important leads and have developed clues to trace the locations of the individuals, believed to have information about the whereabouts of Pearl. Punjab police are also working round the clock to effect the arrest of Amjad Farooqui and Hashim Arif.”

Source: The News
Date:2/21/2002