Pearl case at difficult stage -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Pearl case at difficult stage

KARACHI – The Sindh police and other investigative agencies are not in a position to tell specific whereabouts of the kidnappers in Daniel Pearl case. The investigation is in a very complicated stage. From the investigations so far, the situation has become very confused.

However, police and other investigative agencies have focussed on search of the kidnappers in different parts of Punjab after important disclosures given by Shaikh Omer, the main accused in US journalist abduction case. All attention has been focussed in reaching to the hideouts of the kidnappers.

In this regard, Sindh Police Chief, Syed Kamal Shah, Home Secretary Brig. (Retd) Mukhtar Ahmed along with some other important officers remained engaged in Lahore on Sunday. Different police sources are expecting any breakthrough from Punjab.

“I am in Lahore at the moment and I do not have any information from Karachi, however, the situation is not clear as yet, here”, Inspector General (IG) police, Sindh told newsmen from Lahore when contacted on his mobile phone. While Sindh Home Secretary, Brig. (R) Mukhtar Ahmed returned to Karachi Sunday night. “I just have reached from Lahore, as yet no breakthrough. We will sea it tomorrow”, he said, when contacted by The Nation just after his arrival from Lahore.

Authorities have focused the investigation on hunting for an Islamic militant named Amjad Hussain Farooqi who allegedly picked Pearl up from a Karachi hotel on January 23, when the reporter vanished.

Farooqi’s name came up during the interrogation of British-born hardliner Sheikh Omar, the self-confessed mastermind of the Wall Street Journal correspondent’s abduction, according to police. Omar told a court as he was remanded Thursday that the 38-year-old US reporter was dead, but investigators say his claim cannot be verified and have held out hope.

‘A breakthrough is expected soon,’ Pakistan’s Interior Minister Moinuddin Haider said late Saturday, echoing statements made throughout the kidnapping saga.

Police on Saturday conducted raids in Farooqi’s home village in the central Punjab province but did not find the alleged go-between, a police source said.

However, police arrested for interrogation Farooqi’s brothers Mohammad Javed and Mohammad Amer from the town in the Toba Tek Singh district, believing they may have played a part in the kidnapping, the source said.

The source said at least 10 people were detained in the district Saturday for questioning but released within hours.

An investigator said Farooqi was believed to have once worked for an Islamic organisation in Toba Tek Singh where he was in charge of collecting donations.
In nearby Vehari, police overnight detained for questioning another 12 people who were suspected of ties to Farooqi, said Jamil Ahmed, the police superintendent there.

There have been no indications of Pearl’s fate since January 30, when two e-mails were sent to media organisations showing the Bombay-based reporter in captivity, including one with a gun to his head.

The e-mailers threatened to kill Pearl unless the United States released certain detainees taken from Afghanistan, a demand Washington immediately dismissed.

Haider said the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has been assisting Pakistan in investigating the e-mails.

‘Nobody in Pakistan can help in tracking down the ISP (Internet service provider) addresses, and these (FBI) officials helped the government in honing in on the ISP addresses. Pakistan lacks this expertise altogether,’ he said in the eastern city of Lahore.

Source: The Nation
Date:2/18/2002