Kidnapping suspect to be extradited to US -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Kidnapping suspect to be extradited to US

LAHORE- The government has decided to extradite Mubarak Ali Shah Gilani, the chief suspect in Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl’s abduction, to the United States.

Mubarak Gilani was arrested from Rawalpindi on the charges of kidnapping the journalist.

According to authorities, the US high ups have given proofs about the accused that he was provided four lakh dollars monthly from certain organisations with which he established a network for carrying out his activities.

As such, the US has demanded of Pakistan government to hand over Mubarak Ali Gilani for further investigation.

Humayun Akhtar adds from Washington: An official in Pakistan’s Interior Ministry, who spoke on the condition of anonymity with a North American journalist, has also hinted at extradition of Gilani within 48 hours.

According to US media reports, the little-known, group, Jamaat al-Fuqra, with which Pearl was trying to contact in the days before he disappeared, is suspected of a series of small-scale terrorist attacks in the US.

According to reports appearing in the US media, Gilani, 65, set up the group in New York in 1980 on his first visit to the US. He has admitted receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in donations from America, but says the organisation preaches a peaceful Islamic message.

Al-Fuqra – “the impoverished” – was known to support the guerrilla war in Kashmir, but has not been a leading sectarian or militant force in Pakistan.

The group is suspected of attacking ‘Hare Krishna’ organisations as well as other Muslim clerics in the US. A house in Virginia believed to be linked to the group was raided by police in December and two people were charged with illegally purchasing guns.

There is little doubt that Pakistani authorities have come under intense pressure from Washington to bring a quick and peaceful solution to the kidnapping. Pakistani police arrested Mr Gilani in Rawalpindi on Wednesday and took him to Karachi for questioning.

Although he denied any link to the kidnapping, police detained several of his colleagues.

As per media reports, it has become a test case for Musharraf. For Pakistan the only silver lining is its linkage to India. Pakistanis in the US opine that the disclosure made by Abdul Sattar while in Berlin, is based on solid evidence, and is not a PR gimmick, otherwise it will rebound back and provide another chance to India to malign Pakistan in the eyes of Bush administration.

Since the Taliban collapsed, Musharraf, has been at pains to show US that it is willing to tackle Islamic militancy. Now, he must be extremely anxious about the repercussions of the Pearl affair on relations with the US.

Source: The Nation
Date:2/4/2002