Remand of accused in Pearl case disallowed: Judge seeks clarification from government -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Remand of accused in Pearl case disallowed: Judge seeks clarification from government

KARACHI- The administrative judge of Anti-Terrorist Court. Justice Shabbir Ahmed has disallowed remand of accused that were held on charges of involvement in abduction of US journalist Daniel Pearl.

He said that previous ATCs courts had been abolished on January 31 hence government should clarify whether he is still administrative judge of ATC or not. If government makes it clear, three accused will be produced on Tuesday again for remand.

The three suspects were arrested last week on the charges that they were traced for sending E-mails claiming responsibility for Pearl’s kidnapping.

They were identified as Fahad Naseem, Sheikh Mohammed Adeel, a constable of the Police Department’s Special Branch and Salman Saqib. Saqib and Adeel, it is believed, are linked to Jaish-e-Mohammed. There was no word on Monday of Pearl’s whereabouts.

The Advocate General Sindh, Raja Qureshi, Khuwaja Naveed Advocate and Senior Superintendent Police (SSP) Manzoor Mughal had appeared in the chamber of Justice Shabbir Ahmed in Sindh High Court. A large number of local and foreign journalists also arrived at the Court.

Pearl, 38, the Wall Street Journal’s South Asian bureau chief, was abducted on January 23 when he had gone for a meeting in Karachi. He was believed to be investigating links between Pakistani militants and Richard C. Reid, a Briton arrested on a Paris to Miami flight in December with explosives in his shoes.

Police say the chief suspect in Pearl’s abduction is a British born Islamic militant, Ahmad Omar Saeed Sheikh, who remained at large. Saeed’s father had come to Pakistan from London, apparently to help police find his son, an investigator, speaking on condition of anonymity said Monday.

Saeed was arrested in India in 1994 but was freed on Dec. 31 1999, in exchange for passengers of an Indian Airlines jet hijacked to Kandahar, Afghanistan. Police have detained several members of his family in their search for Pearl. Police said his two brothers were still in custody.

A police source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Saeed visited his aunt’s two story white concrete home here Jan. 24 and Jan. 25. Saeed also is believed to have met Naseem, Adeel and Saqib on Jan. 24, the day after Pearl’s disappearance, the source said.

Western intelligence sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, believe Saeed sent $100,000 to Mohammed Atta, suspected ringleader of the Sept. 11 terrorist hijackings, through a system known as Hawala that bypasses banks and official financial institutions.

Another leading suspect in Pearl’s kidnapping, Mohammed Hashim Qadeer, is believed to be an active member of Harkat-ul-Mujahideen. That group is also known to have close links to Afghanistan’s former Taliban regime and Al-Qaida.

In their first E-mail, Pearl’s kidnappers identified themselves as the National Movement for the Restoration of Pakistani Sovereignty. They demanded better, conditions for imprisoned Taliban and al-Qaida fighters in Guantan-arno Bay, Cuba and the release ‘of the Taliban’s former ambassador to Pakistan, Abdul Salam Zeef being held by the United States.

They also demanded that Pakistanis held by the United States be returned here for trial.

Source: The Nation