No progress in Pearl case -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

No progress in Pearl case

KARACHI- The police and other agencies are still clueless about the captors of US journalist, Daniel Pearl, and investigation seems to have come to a standstill.

“There has been no significant progress in the case,” said a senior police official on Monday.

A day earlier, the police had claimed that they were making efforts to arrest Amjad Farooqui, the man believed to have abducted Daniel Pearl on Jan 23. “His arrest may lead the police to the real captors,” the official had said.

Although the police had picked up some more suspects for their alleged connection with Amjad Farooqui, efforts to find the man himself remained unfruitful.

The police had earlier claimed that the case could be solved if the key suspect, British-born Ahmed Omar Saeed Shaikh, was arrested.

According to sources, Omar had told the interrogators that he had asked the captors to release Daniel Pearl but now he says he does not know his whereabouts, not even sure whether he is dead or alive.

Now the police officials claim that Amjad Farooqui is the abductor and his arrest would lead to Pearl’s being found.

The sources in the police department, however, fear that Amjad Farooqui may also not be helpful, as the captors might have handed the journalist over to others of their ilk. The sources said either the kidnappers belonged to a well-organized group or worked for different, but close-knit, outfits.

The police had picked up one, Haji Laloo, from Super Highway on Sunday, and he was being quizzed. Laloo, the police sources said, was an alleged hardened criminal who provided shelter to other criminals and kidnap victims. He was allegedly involved in the carjacking racket.

The police thought that Haji Laloo might have some links with Ahmed Omar Shaikh or Amjad Farooqui and could provide useful leads. But the sources said Haji Laloo had disappointed the police and added to their anxiety, when he told the investigators that he had played no role in Pearl’s kidnapping.

The police appeared to be groping in the dark as they picked up suspects on information provided by their ‘informers’. Those with a criminal record or ones having previously been bailed out in kidnap cases were being hauled up and interrogated.

The police were forced to follow this course after Omar Shaikh refused to divulge more information, the sources privy to the investigation said. They said Omar Shaikh had made it clear that he had told the interrogators everything he knew and now he had nothing else to reveal. However, the provincial Home Department issued a brief press statement to update the people on the kidnapping saga.

A spokesman for the Sindh Home Department said: “The investigation of Daniel Pearl case is progressing in the right direction. Investigating agencies, using all their skills and expertise to work out the case, are optimistic about his early recovery. Based on the available information, the scope of investigation has been further enlarged.”

In another statement, a police spokesman said: “The investigation is focussing on identifying persons who are associated with or have clues to the kidnapping of Daniel Pearl. Any of his associates, anywhere in Pakistan, is being, and would be, interrogated and this countrywide operation is progressing with speed and urgency.

“Shaikh Umar has only admitted his involvement in this crime …and has named his accomplices, of whom some have been arrested while efforts are afoot to arrest the remaining.”

Source: Dawn
Date:2/19/2002