Moin believes Pearl is alive
KARACHI- Interior Minister Moinuddin Haider said on Monday indications are there that kidnapped US journalist Daniel Pearl is alive.
Talking to newsmen at Sir Syed University of Engineering and Technology, the minister conceded that for the last couple of days the FBI had been associated with the investigation. Although, he added, investigation was moving ahead “we cannot claim any breakthrough at this juncture”.
Asked about the people behind the kidnapping of the reporter of Wall Street Journal and their objective, the minister said that despite getting close to the men involved “we are not in a position to say who are responsible for the kidnapping. Whatever be the objective, those behind it have not done any service to Pakistan or Islam.”
In reply to a question if he was satisfied with the progress of investigation, the minister said it was a complicated case. He pointed out that before the disappearance of Mr Pearl some 3,000 foreign journalists, including women, had come to Pakistan who also visited Torkham, Chaman and many other areas but all remained safe. As for Daniel Pearl, the minister said, it was not known with whom he was making contacts.
The minister observed that Mr Pearl had not been kidnapped but he perhaps had been taken hostage by some one who might have told him that he would arrange his meeting with the required person.
In reply to a question about RAW’s involvement in the case vis-a-vis Mubarak Ali Shah Gilani, the minister said that Mr Gilani or any one else, calls were made to India from the mobile telephone of the contact in-between.
Referring to Al Fuqra Organization, the minister said he had just learnt that it was an organization in North America working for Muslims, especially for black Americans, and added that he had passed information to Mr Pearl’s wife. The name of Mr Gilani, too, had not come to fore previously in a negative manner, he said.
Asked how many people had so far been arrested in the case, the minister said there were many like those who were intercepted when an e-mail was sent from an internet cafe. But when they were interrogated it came to the knowledge that they were just boys doing that just out of mischief. Still, he pointed out, it was a cyber crime.
Another e-mail was sent from Islamabad with a demand for $20 million as ransom for the release of Mr Pearl but that too was found fake as some people were just making a joke, the minister said, adding that it was a non-serious behaviour, which had diverted the investigation.
He further said that two boys playing through Internet were hauled up in Peshawar, two others in Karachi and one in Islamabad but those found not involved were let off.
Later, the minister told a seminar that the FBI had been given permission to make investigations into the case.
In reply to a question, he said the government had taken notice of misuse of mobile phones as was in the case of Mr Pearl. The government had approached the mobile phone companies and was considering checking the misuse of mobile phones. “The government will make legislation in this respect if it feels necessary.”
Sindh police chief Syed Kamal Shah said: “It is not a case of pre-planned kidnapping. We do not think that Daniel Pearl was lifted forcibly. He went to meet someone at his own will where he was made captive. We are trying to trace those people, who have kept him in illegal detention,” he said, adding it was a case of solitary confinement.
Talking to Dawn, Kamal Shah said ten e-mails had been sent to media about Mr Pearl. All of the messages were technically examined and eight of them appeared to be fake. The remaining two messages containing photographs of Mr Pearl had genuinely come from his captors, he added. He said an application had been received from wife of Mr Pearl, informing the police about missing of her husband and the complaint had been noted down in the daily diary at the Clifton police station.
The police, he said, were preparing a kidnapping case on the basis of those two messages.
FIR: The Artillery Maidan police registered an First Information Report (FIR) on Monday in the kidnapping case of Mr Pearl. The FIR (24/2000) was registered under section 365A of the Pakistan Penal Code and section 7A of the Anti-Terrorism Act.
AFP adds: The police identified a missing militant, Mohammad Hashim Qadeer, as a crucial link in the kidnapping of Mr Pearl as their search for the reporter intensified. “He is the main link and his arrest can lead to a major breakthrough,Â” a senior officer involved in the investigation told AFP, requesting anonymity.
Mr Pearl was using Qadeer, better known as Arif, as a contact point to meet militants in Pakistan, an officer said.