Key events in kidnapping of Pearl -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Key events in kidnapping of Pearl

KARACHI- Following are key events in the disappearance and hunt for slain US journalist. Jan 23, 2002: Pearl disappears as he tries to make contact with Islamic radical groups and investigate links between alleged shoe bomber Richard Reid and Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda network. A contact arranges to meet him at a Karachi restaurant in the early evening. Pearl was never seen again in person.

Jan 27: Pakistani and US media organisations receive e-mail saying Pearl abducted by a group calling itself “The National Movement for the Restoration of Pakistani Sovereignty”. E-mail includes four photographs of the reporter, including one with his wrists chained and a pistol pointed at his head. E-mail says he was being kept in inhumane conditions to protest against treatment of Taliban and al-Qaeda prisoners held by the United States.

Jan 30: Pakistani police say they detain Mubarak Ali Gilani, leader of radical Islamic group Jamaat al-Fuqra and prime suspect in the case. Investigators have said Pearl met Gilani before he disappeared. Jan 30: Group claiming to have abducted Pearl sends e-mail to news organisations threatening to kill him within 24 hours unless the US frees Pakistani prisoners held in Afghan war.

Jan 31: Execution deadline extended by a day.

Feb 1: Group claiming to have abducted Pearl sends second e-mail threatening to kill him unless their demand to release a Taliban leader and better treatment for al-Qaeda prisoners held at US air base in Cuba are met within 24 hours. They also give a three-day deadline for all American journalists to leave Pakistan.

Feb 2: Karachi police chief says US American embassy receives e-mail demanding the release of Taliban official Mulla (Abdul Salam) Zaeef and $2 million within 36 hours but e-mail is later thought to one of a number of hoax messages.

Feb 3: US networks report Pearl’s body found in Karachi but US and Pakistan later confirm it was not him.

Feb 4: US FBI joins hunt.

Feb 5: Pakistan police claim major breakthrough, saying they have detained man thought to have arranged contact meetings for Pearl. Police later say they detained the wrong man.

Feb 5: Police say they detain two men in connection with sending e-mails that contained pictures of Pearl.

Feb 6: Police say trail leads to British-born Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh.

Feb 12: Key suspect Sheikh Omar arrested in Lahore tells investigators Pearl was alive and in Karachi.

Feb 14: Omar tells anti-terrorism court he thinks Pearl is dead.

Feb 17: Police say they were hunting a man known to Pearl as Imtiaz Siddiqui, who police believe carried out the kidnapping, but later identified as Amjad Hussain.

Feb 21: One of three men accused of involvement in kidnapping confesses Pearl abducted because he was a Jew working against Islam, his defence lawyer says.

Feb 21: US and Pakistan announce they receive videotape showing scenes of Pearl’s murder by his kidnappers.

Source: The News