Pearl being searched in Lahore's Afghan belts -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Pearl being searched in Lahore’s Afghan belts

LAHORE- US and Pakistani intelligence agencies have shifted their focus to the Afghan-concentrated areas, especially in the Lahore, as part of the nationwide search for the kidnapped US journalist Daniel Pearl, sources said. The intelligence sources said these areas in Lahore had already become the focus for the Pakistani and US intelligence agencies since the September 11 attacks, as there were information about the possible links of some influential Afghan settlers with the al-Qaeda men. They confirmed that the personnel of Crime Investigation Agency (CIA) and Pakistani intelligence wings had stepped up their activities in the area since the kidnapping of Daniel Pearl. “However, they are moving in the disguise of Afghan refugees, a standard procedure for such types of clandestine operations,” the sources said.

The US and Pakistani intelligence agencies are also concentrating on the crime-prone areas in Lahore, sources said. The intelligence sources confirmed that they had found some clues to the kidnapping and if handled in a proper way could yield better results with regard to the recovery of Daniel Pearl. The rumour of recovery of a deadman similar to the kidnapped US journalist Daniel Pearl spread in the city on late Thursday night.

A Karachi police team along with city police continued their search for the missing journalist Daniel Pearl and his alleged kidnapper Sheikh Ahmed Omar Saeed in the city. The sources said that Karachi police team conducted raids at different places in the city including residential areas as well as hotels to find some clue of Sheikh Omar.

Police sources also said different teams also searched all the city graveyards, following an information that Daniel’s corpse was laying in a graveyard. A police spokesman, however, refused to comment on the development, saying Karachi police had not involved the local police in their operations.

Sheikh Ahmed Omar, a former student of London School of Economics and a British national, was one of the three persons released from Indian jail in December 1999 in exchange for passengers of a hijacked Indian plane. The other two were Maulana Masood Azhar, chief of the banned Jaish-e-Mohammad, and Mushtaq Zargar. Masood and Omar are also on top of the list whose extradition has been demanded by India recently.

The sources in Punjab police said several raids have also been conducted in the cities of Sargodha, Muzzaffargarh, Jhang and Multan in search of Omar, while separate teams were also searching Omar and Daniel in the federal capital and Karachi. However, Karachi Police team member Capt (Retd) Saif when contacted claimed that he and his team was following the footsteps of Omar and would soon grab him.

Source: The News
Date:2/11/2002