Police believe Pearl is alive
KARACHI- Recovery of the kidnapped US journalist Daniel Pearl is a matter of a couple of days, the provincial police chief Kamal Shah told a press conference on Thursday.
“We are fully satisfied with the way and the pace of investigation and all involved in the kidnapping will be arrested. It is impossible to give out a timeframe. However, we will be able to recover him in a couple of days and it could be a little longer than expected,” he said.
Commenting on a statement of the key suspect Omar Shaikh in the court earlier in the day who had stated that “as far as I understand, he is dead”, the provincial police chief said his (Omar’s) statement was not substantiated by the evidence which the police had collected. He said that earlier during investigation Omar had claimed Pearl was alive.
He said after the court proceedings, Omar was questioned again and he had no idea as to who had killed Pearl and where his body had been dumped.
When a reporter told Mr Shah that Omar had told the court that he had surrendered himself to the police on Feb 5 to save his family from harassment, the Inspector General (IG) said Omar’s every statement could not be believed as he had tried to mislead the investigators by giving inconsistent statements. Only that statement could be believed which was substantiated by the evidence. He said Omar had been arrested on Feb 12, taken to Islamabad first and then flown to Karachi as there had been no flight from Lahore to Karachi on that day.
He said Daniel Pearl, went missing on Jan 23, had not lived in Karachi and he had no contacts, which was the major hindrance to trace him and investigate the case. He said the best intelligence officers along with Citizen-Police Liaison Committee were investigating the case.
The police had arrested three suspects earlier who had sent two e-mails containing photographs. The contents of the e-mail had been provided personally by Omar Shaikh to them. Confusion was created when false e-mails were sent to the media. The captors did not communicate except through the two e-mails.
He said: “We are interrogating Omar Shaikh and he is retracting his statements again and again. He is a hard nut to crack as he is a clever, intelligent and educated.” It was a complicated case and the police were dealing with sufficiently trained suspects, he added.
He said: “We have four accused in custody. Omar Shaikh is being interrogated and he has not provided us a substantial clue to the captors of Daniel Pearl so far. It will take some time to break him.”
About the role of the Federal Bureau of Investigation into the investigation, Kamal Shah said: “We are handicapped as far as technical equipment is concerned. The FBI has provided us the technical assistance” as they had experience in dealing with cyber crime.” However, he did not elaborate what he meant by “technical assistance”.