Pearl killed within first week of abduction
KARACHI- Daniel Pearl was most probably dead when his kidnappers sent their second e-mail to international media, setting a deadline of 24 hours for the US authorities to meet their demand on January 30, said the sources who have seen a grossly-edited video that also carried horrific images of the slaughtering of the body of the Wall Street Journal reporter.
“There is almost a consensus among the Pakistani and US investigators that Danny was dead when his captors severed his head from the body,” said a source that had closely-monitored the Pearl murder video, reaching the US and Pakistani investigators after unidentified people mysteriously released it for commercial purpose on February 18 in Peshawar.
“There is not a single shot in the video showing Danny being killed,” said the source who had closely examined Danny’s physical status, his shave and clothing on the video. He said that when Danny was forced to say on camera that his father and mother were Jews and he was a Jew, it might be around January 27, four days after his kidnapping. Besides this particular statement about his parents and himself, the video also showed Danny talking about his grandfather and ancestral place in Israel.
“Danny showed no hesitation is explaining his forefathers’ Jewish background despite knowing that it may cost him his life,” said the source who had seen the video.
“There is no confusion in investigators’ mind that Danny was killed some time after he was forced to make statement about his Jewish background,” said an investigator, who marked a slight difference in Danny’s appearance while he made the statement before the camera from the time when the killer’s knife was shown slicing his neck.
Some Pakistani police officials are privately speculating that Danny might have been gunned down while making an attempt to escape from the captivity and the decision to slaughter his body could have been an afterthought on the part of his killers. This assumption grows from a persistent claim from Omar Sheikh, who had repeatedly told his investigators that he had reasons to believe that Daniel was killed while trying to escape a few days before he offered himself for arrest by walking up to Home Secretary Punjab Brig (retd) Ejaz Shah, officials said.
Some investigators are now more inclined to believe Omar Sheikh on the ground that the video contained disjointed shots of a haggard Daniel making statement about his religious beliefs. These shots were cut into a scene where even the butcher-like deep cut of the knife could not wake Daniel up from his deep sleep. “When the knife sliced his neck, Daniel was no more a living person,” a source observed. “This leaves us with a critical question, how and under what circumstances, Daniel was actually killed?”
Despite mounting evidence of Daniel’s murder that had emerged soon after Omar Sheikh’s decision to turn himself over to the authorities, top officials in Islamabad kept President Musharraf, who was in the US, in the dark about the depressing developments in the case. Briefing the president on February 13, the officials said that they were sure that Daniel was alive and that they were about to arrest all the perpetrators of his kidnapping. This briefing from Islamabad caused President Musharraf to declare at a White House press briefing that he was “reasonably sure that Daniel was still alive” and “We are as close as possible to get him released.”
Source: The News