Abducted journalist in Karachi, says Moin
KARACHI- Federal Interior Minister Lt Gen (Retd) Moinuddin Haider on Sunday disclosed that kidnapped US journalist Daniel Pearl is in Karachi and the main suspect Shaikh Omar in Punjab.
He also claimed that one more suspect has been arrested from Islamabad in connection with Daniel PearlÂ’s abduction case. While those would be tried under Anti-Terrorism Act, who had sent e-mail messages regarding Pearl’s abduction, he revealed.
He was talking to newsmen on his arrival here at a local hotel to attend a seminar on ‘Torture against women’ organised by an NGO. Moin Haider said it is not possible that Daniel could proceed from Karachi because all the exit points were closed and a strict surveillance was at all the checkposts.
When asked whether Pearl’s abduction would affect President General Pervez Musharraf’s US visit, Haider said he does not think that this issue would overshadow between the two countries’ relations.
He said it is revealed during investigation that the kidnappers are professionals. When asked how many days would require for recovery of Daniel Pearl, he said he could not mention any specific time, however, he would be recovered very soon.
Interior Minister said that about 3,000 foreign journalists had come to Pakistan after the September 11 terror attack and have been engaged in their professional duties but they all remained untouched. He said, “Daniel was unconscious regarding his security and he reached towards the abductors on his own desire,” he said.
Earlier, while talking during the inauguration of Nadra counter at Awami Markaz the Interior Minister said that after the terrorist incident of Pearl’s abduction through mobile phones in future, the mobile connections would also be issued through computerised ID cards.
He said that the government had extended an invitation to Afghanistan’s Interior Minister Younus Qanooni, which he had accepted.
He said that the government had raised the issue of stranded Pakistanis in Afghanistan before Hamid Karzai, who recently visited Pakistan. He had assured that all those would be released who would not be found involved in heinous matters.
Police have made two more arrests in search for kidnapped US journalist Daniel Pearl but the alleged mastermind, British-born extremist Sheikh Omar, remained at large Sunday.
Islamabad police Senior Superintendent Nasir Khan Durrani said the two men were rounded up in the Capital, bringing to around 16 the number of people arrested since Pearl went missing on January 23.
‘The arrests relate to some phone calls they made from a mobile telephone set,’ he told newsmen.
Police laid their first charges in the case on Friday, when they booked three men who have admitted to sending e-mails containing threats to kill Pearl and photos showing him in chains with a gun at his head.
But they have failed to locate four chief suspects including Omar, who was jailed in India for allegedly kidnapping tourists in 1993, and was released in 1999 in exchange for hostages on an Indian Airlines jet.
The Wall Street Journal correspondent, 38, vanished while exploring the dangerous underworld of militants in Karachi.
OMAR NOT IN SINDH: Police have tried to contact the alleged mastermind of PearlÂ’s abduction through the jailed leader of the Jaish-e-Mohammad, the chief of police in Sindh, Kamal Shah, said on Sunday.
But Jaish leader Masood Azhar, who has been in prison in Pakistan since December 22, denied knowing alleged kidnapper Sheikh Omar, the chief of police in Sindh, Kamal Shah, told reporters.
‘He was contacted but he denied either having any links with the kidnapping or any control over Sheikh Omar,’ Shah said.
As the trail of Pearl and his captors grew cold, police speculated that Omar may be hiding in Punjab or over the border in Afghanistan.
‘He is certainly not in Karachi or in Sindh, but he might be hiding somewhere in Punjab,Â’ Shah said, adding that search parties were combing the cities of Lahore, Bahawalpur, and Jhelum to trace Omar.
It was also possible that he had slipped into Afghanistan, he said.
‘I can say one thing with confidence that the kidnappers know that we are close,’ Shah said Sunday.
President Pervez Musharraf again raised an alleged Indian link to the abduction, in an interview with the Washington Post published at the weekend.
He said calls to two Indian MPs and a cabinet minister from the same phone used to summon Pearl to a Karachi restaurant 17 days ago suggested a link between Omar and New Delhi.
‘It does very much make sense to me,’ Musharraf insisted when asked how it was possible that Jaish would collude with its greatest enemy, the Indian government.
‘It makes sense to me because … the leader of Jaish-e-Mohammad was in jail for seven long years in India and he wasn’t even tried,’ the President said. ‘How is all this happening in India? And this man (Omar) was also there.’
Musharraf’s remarks are the latest of several accusations from Islamabad of possible Indian complicity in the abduction.
Police said the three admitted after ‘intense interrogation’ that they were ordered by Omar to send the e-mails.
The e-mailed messages carried threats to kill Pearl unless the US released Pakistani prisoners from the war in Afghanistan and the former Taliban ambassador to Pakistan.
Source: The Nation