Police fail to get any clue to Pearl -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Police fail to get any clue to Pearl

ISLAMABAD- Federal Secretary Interior Tasneem Noorani said on Wednesday the government agencies had failed to get any major clue about kidnapped journalist Daniel Pearl from the prime suspect Sheikh Omar who was arrested in Lahore on Tuesday.

The secretary gave an unusual statement before the Public Accounts Committee members, saying government’s drastic action against the close relatives of the prime suspect in the case had led to the immediate arrest of Sheikh Omar.

Police in a traditional fashion had earlier picked up all the close relatives of the Sheikh including women to force the accused to surrender. Earlier, as soon as the PAC started the proceedings, one of the PAC members Muzaffar asked the secretary interior about the latest progress in the US journalist case. But, the secretary interior was immediately reminded by another PAC member that mediamen were also sitting in the meeting, so he must be careful while making any disclosure.

The secretary interior said that all the agencies were earlier of the view that the arrest of Sheikh Omar would result in the immediate recovery of the abducted journalist. But, he said so far this theory had proved wrong as no significant progress could be made. He said before the arrest of the Sheikh everybody was of the view that he might have clue about the kidnapped journalist as all the leads were pointing to him. He said efforts were underway to get the abducted journalist as early as possible.

Amjad Bashir Siddiqi adds from Karachi: The Sindh police has quelled the euphoria created with the arrest of ‘prime suspect’ Shaikh Omar by saying it has no idea ‘so far’ whether Pearl is alive or not and even has no information regarding his whereabouts. “It is very painful to say but so far we have no credible information whether the WSJ correspondent is dead or alive or where is he being held, police sources said.

Regarding news about Daniel’s presence in Karachi attributed to a statement by the Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Karachi Tariq Jamil, the police sources said: “The DIG Tariq Jamel was quoted out of context. “Tariq never said Daniel was alive and in Karachi and he could not have said so because Omar till that time had not yet arrived in Karachi and was still being held in Lahore, ” police sources said. Tariq Jameel however said since there is no body so we believe he is alive.

The Public Affairs Officer of the US Consulate in Karachi Lonnie Kelley, Jr told that: “There is absolutely no word on Danny. Police are doing their investigations and we hope that it comes to a successful conclusion. We are looking forward to an immediate and unconditional release of Daniel Pearl.

Despite 24-hours of intensive interrogation of Shaikh Omar, the widely considered prime suspect in the case, there is no breakthrough in Daniel’s recovery, said IGP Sindh Kamal Shah. According to Kamal, Omar is stubborn and tough person, who is very well trained and is evading our queries. However we would be able to subdue him soon and get all required information.”

According to sources, Omar has told the investigators that he has not been in touch with the ‘other group, keeping Daniel’. He has also told them that there are four to five groups who were handling different tasks. One group was handling e-mails, the other group was keeping Daniel in custody, another group was carrying out diversionary measures. But this is his initial statement, said the Inspector General (IG) Sindh, adding which cannot be trusted as all criminals give false statements to avoid intense interrogation. He has to be produced in a court for obtaining remand, the IG Sindh said.

British-born Islamic militant Sheikh Omar has confessed to kidnapping US journalist Daniel Pearl during intense interrogation, police sources said Wednesday. “The interrogation is continuing. He is talking but he is a hard nut to crack. We hope he will come out with the truth,” a senior police interrogator told the news sources by telephone from Karachi.

Omar is understood to have been under constant questioning since his arrest, both by police in Lahore and in Karachi, where Wall Street Journal reporter Pearl, 38, disappeared on January 23. Police sources said Omar had told interrogators that several people were involved in the kidnapping, but he had refused to identify them or give Pearl’s whereabouts.
Source: The News
Date:2/14/2002