Pearl case: FBI team arrives in Lahore
LAHORE- A three-member team of the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is in the city for the last two days to follow up the kidnapping of American journalist Daniel Pearl, it is reliably learnt.
Sources in the law enforcement agencies said that the team members arrived in Lahore by a PIA flight a couple of days ago. Their hosts tried to arrange their stay at a five-star hotel but could not find a place due to the rush of the Basant festival.
“The three FBI personnel were driven to cantonment where they were residing at a place, which most probably is in the use of an intelligence agency,” they said. A senior cantonment police officer, however, denied it, saying no such activity was in his knowledge.
The sources identified the FBI team members as Mr Thomas Anderson, Mr John Marthred and Mr Aedigare. Lahore range Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Javed Noor said: “None of them has so far contacted us.” He even claimed that their presence was also not in his knowledge.
About Daniel Pearl kidnapping case, the DIG said that everything related to the case was being done by Karachi police. No fresh raid has so far been conducted in Lahore at least, he added.
The sources said that the three FBI officials were also the part of nine-member team that visited the city on the arrest of Omar Sheikh, the prime suspect in the kidnapping of Wall Street Journal reporter. “The team questioned Omar soon after his surrender.” They said that some members of the nine-man team escorted Omar to Karachi and rest of them flew back to Islamabad.
The three FBI officials staying currently in Lahore are among those who had escorted Omar to Karachi, the sources said and believed that they had returned from Karachi with some leads they had found from the interrogation of Omar.
Police on Sunday took two more suspects into custody in the interiors of Sindh for their alleged links to Daniel Pearl kidnapping, and brought them here for interrogation.
One of the investigators, who asked not to be named, told that the police had picked up two suspects believed to have helped the abductors of the US journalist. They were shifted to Karachi where they were being interrogated, he added.
“May be, they know about the captors, and we are hopeful to get some useful information from them, which could lead us to the real captors of Daniel Pearl”, he said. But he declined to explain the kind of assistance provided by these suspects to those, who had taken away Daniel Pearl on Jan 23 from a place near Metropole Hotel.
The sources said the police continued their efforts to arrest another suspect Amjad Hussain Farooqui, who had emerged as a go-between during interrogation with the key suspect British-born Ahmed Umer Saeed Shaikh.
The police raided various places in Punjab on Saturday, and had picked up some neighbours and two brothers of Amjad Hussain Farooqui for questioning, but failed to uncover the hideout of Farooqui.
The police even could not find out as to whether he was in Punjab or in any other part of the country.
Sindh Police chief Syed Kamal Shah said that family members and neighbours of Amjad Farooqui had been associated with the investigation process in Toba Tek Singh, Punjab, but, “still we have not been able to locate the suspect (Farooqui).”