Police have no clue to Pearl's whereabouts -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Police have no clue to Pearl’s whereabouts

KARACHI- Despite the arrest of Sheikh Omar Saeed — chief suspect in the Daniel Pearl kidnapping case — in Lahore Tuesday afternoon, police had no clue to the whereabouts of the abducted Wall Street Journal reporter till midnight Tuesday, officials said here.

Senior police sources in Lahore have said that Omar swapped his surrender to the police with an immediate release of all of his relatives from the police custody in various Pakistani cities.

“Sheikh Omar may be an active player in the whole game but he was not the captain of the team,” said a senior police investigator late Tuesday night while explaining as why the Sheikh’s arrest didn’t result in the immediate recovery of the kidnapped WSJ reporter.

Police officials said Omar believed that Daniel was still alive and his captors had no intention of killing their hostage as the main purpose of the abduction was to attract world attention toward the inhuman treatment being given to the Taliban and al-Qaeda prisoners by the US forces.

Omar was brought to Karachi from Islamabad Tuesday night and was swiftly transferred to an undisclosed interrogation facility run by the intelligence department of the Sindh Police. A joint interrogation team of the US federal agents and the Sindh police investigators was questioning Omar till our going to the press.

Sheikh Omar, police sources said, used the cover names of Chaudhry Bashir and Imtiaz Siddiqi to lure Daniel Pearl to his trap through a vast network of phony e-mail addresses and cell phone connections.

In each of his interaction in Karachi while planning for the abduction of Daniel Pearl, Sheikh Omar was accompanied by at least three other individuals who apparently were overseeing the whole operation.

Sheikh Adil, Fahad Nasim and Salman, the three persons arrested in Karachi in connection with Daniel abduction case last week have also provided graphic accounts of their meetings with Pearl with an emphasis that Omar was not acting on his own and the real organizers of the abduction were hidden somewhere else.

After dropping out of the London School of Economics in 1993, Sheikh Omar had travelled to Afghanistan for guerrilla training and quickly became such an expert that he was soon appointed an instructor in guerrilla warfare at a terrorist training camp in Khost inside Afghanistan.

He later moved to India where he staged two failed kidnapping operations to seek the release of Jaish-e-Mohammad founder Maulana Masud Azhar from Indian prison. He was caught during one of these failed kidnapping attempt. He was released along with Masood Azhar and another Kashmiri freedom fighter, when an Indian airliner was hijacked to Kandahar by Harkatal-ul-Mujahideen supporters in late 1999.

Source: The News
Date:2/13/2002