IGP rejects Omar's assertion that Pearl is dead -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

IGP rejects Omar’s assertion that Pearl is dead

KARACHI- The Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Sindh, Syed Kamal Shah, said Thursday that he and his teams of police investigators did not give much credence to the statement of the prime suspect Shaikh Omar in the Wall Street Journal correspondent Daniel Pearl’s kidnapping case that the reporter was dead.

Addressing a hurriedly called, crowded press conference, at the Driving License Branch Offices, Kamal Shah said that as the provincial commander of the Sindh police force and a professional and seasoned policeman, he would believe Shaikh Omar’s statement about Pearl’s death only, “If it were substantiated by evidence,” “And I have no evidence to believe that Pearl is dead,” the IGP said.

“Its not an ordinary case but rather a complicated one and in the course of investigations, we are not dealing with ordinary people. They are highly trained and educated. Shaikh is highly educated. He will tell us the truth but it will take time, till his stock of lies is exhausted,” Kamal Shah hoped. To a question regarding the detention of prime suspect Omar’s family members to pressurise him for producing himself before the police, about the legality-or otherwise-of the step, the IGP was left groping for an answer, replying finally, “The Court can ask this question.”

The IGP said he was fully satisfied with the course of the investigations and interrogation of the accused. To another question, the commander of Sindh police force said that the US Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) officials were also assisting the sleuths of police force. “We are seeking technical assistance from FBI,” he added but did not explain the sort of “technical assistance” being furnished to the police investigators by the US agency.

“We cannot share it with you. This will harm the investigations and will help the kidnapped journalist’s captors,” he added. Seated next to the IGP was the CPLC Chief, Jamil Yousuf, and Capital police force hierarchy, on the occasion. Replying to a question pertaining to prime suspect Omar’s statement claiming that Pearl was dead, the IGP said, “If a criminal has to be believed, then he could mislead us in any direction to waste our time and put us on the wrong track.”

In reply to another question, the IGP said that it would take time to interrogate the prime suspect thoroughly. “He was handed over to us last night. And, as I had earlier said, he is not an ordinary criminal. Rather, he’s a hard nut to crack. So it will take time,” Kamal told reporters.

Regarding a question of possible negotiations with the abducted journalist’s captors, the IGP straightaway rejected the suggestion, saying, “We will not be negotiating with the criminals holding Pearl hostage. We will be going to arrest them.” But in the same breath, he exclaimed, “For the sake of someone’s life, I don’t mind negotiation.”

“He (Omar) was clever, trained, and educated. He had earlier told investigators that Pearl was alive and was in Karachi but now he was saying something different. Such criminals usually take time to reveal facts,” the Sindh police chief said. “He (Omar) has admitted that he had handed over the contents of e-mails to the three nabbed earlier by the police,” Kamal Shah added.

To another question about the political or any other affiliations of the prime suspects, his three already- nabbed accomplices responsible for dispatching the e-mails, and their mentors, the IGP was evasive. “We were not concerned with their affiliations. We just want to recover Pearl alive, or just want to get his whereabouts. Asked whether Omar Shaikh would be extradited to the US if were wanted in any other case there, Shah avoided a clear reply. “This offence was committed in Pakistan for which he has to be tried here.”

Source: The News
Date:2/15/2002