I have been following up on the murder of Daniel Pearl in Pakistan. It is widely known in Indian circles that Pakistani military, through its intelligence wing, the ISI, orchestrated the murder of Daniel Pearl as he was getting close to establish the links between the Pakistani military, its Intelligence agency-ISI, the Taliban and Al-Qaeda.
Here are some links that I came across recently.
January 23, 2003
Killing of Pearl Fit Into Web Of Radical Islam in Pakistan
Probe Into Reporter's Slaying Has Netted Many Suspects in Nation's Wave of Terror
By STEVE LEVINE
Staff Reporter of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
A year after the abduction and murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl in Karachi, Pakistan, Pakistani police have yet to determine exactly who ordered the killing and the names of those who carried it out. But the police, who now have additional details of Mr. Pearl's detention, say that some of the militants involved in his death have turned up as participants in other terrorist acts in the country, forming a loose network of radicals that is now weakened.
Indeed, Pakistani officials believe their broad probe of both Mr. Pearl's murder and other terrorism has solved last May's killing of a group of French engineers in Karachi, the June bombing of the U.S. consulate there and a five-year murder spree against Pakistan's Shiite Muslim minority.
One person familiar with the cases says that, while individual terrorists and militant groups remain active, the intense manhunt by Pakistani and U.S. investigators has changed the freewheeling atmosphere in which radicals previously operated in Karachi. If so, it would be a significant accomplishment for the government of President Pervez Musharraf, a vital U.S. ally in a volatile region.
In the Pearl case, authorities have convicted four men who arranged the Jan. 23, 2002, kidnapping. The cases are on appeal, which may take another year or more. Police have also detained but not formally charged four men alleged to have guarded Mr. Pearl, The Wall Street Journal's South Asia bureau chief.
Authorities are still looking for the owner of a compound in northern Karachi where the reporter's body was found in May. They are also still pursuing three unidentified Arabic-speaking men who police say appeared at the compound, videotaped Mr. Pearl and then killed him.
The abduction and eight subsequent attacks on Westerners in Pakistan followed the U.S. assault in Afghanistan that ousted the Taliban regime and scattered Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network. The Pakistani government, newly allied with the U.S., was simultaneously cracking down on indigenous militant groups backing radical causes in Kashmir, Afghanistan and at home. Many of the groups went underground in Karachi, a sprawling and chaotic city of 12 million where sectarian killings were terrorizing the minority Shiite Muslim population.
Ferreting out these militant groups became a prime goal of the Musharraf government, the stability of which was critical to the U.S. as it attacked al Qaeda in Afghanistan. Mr. Musharraf's control over the nuclear-armed nation is even more vital to the U.S. today as it prepares for a possible war in Iraq that could further polarize the region.
The kidnapping of Mr. Pearl, who was 38 years old, both accelerated the crackdown on militant groups in Karachi and brought them to international attention. Meanwhile, Pakistani and U.S. investigators and others connected with the Pearl case have been able to piece together a clearer account of Mr. Pearl's entrapment, confinement and murder. They have employed multiple interviews with suspects and other witnesses, some of whose accounts may be colored by self-interest, along with telephone and e-mail records.
On Jan. 6, Mr. Pearl, working in Islamabad, read a story in the Boston Globe about Richard Reid, a Briton accused of trying to blow up an American Airlines jet over the Atlantic with a bomb in his shoe. The story said Mr. Reid had studied under a Pakistani Islamic leader named Sheik Mubarik Ali Gilani, the reclusive head of a largely U.S.-based group called al Fuqra.
Mr. Pearl began seeking an interview with Mr. Gilani to discuss Mr. Reid or, failing that, with someone who knew the cleric. A man with whom Mr. Pearl had been in contact, calling himself Arif, phoned to say he knew such a person. According to Mr. Pearl's assistant in Islamabad, the caller said a meeting with himself and the person who knew Mr. Gilani could take place the evening of Jan. 11 at the Akbar International hotel in Rawalpindi, a city about 25 miles west of Islamabad.
Police would later determine that, unknown to Mr. Pearl, Arif was actually Hashim Kadir, an operative of Harkat ul-Mujahedin. That is a Kashmiri group with a history of kidnapping Westerners, and one of the groups then coming under U.S. and Pakistani pressure.
A second deception occurred at the hotel, where Arif and Mr. Pearl, along with Mr. Pearl's assistant, met a man calling himself Bashir. He was actually Omar Ahmed Saeed Sheikh, a British-reared Pakistani who once attended the London School of Economics but had a religious awakening in 1993 after seeing Muslims persecuted in the Balkans. Investigators say Mr. Saeed uses Punjabi and British accents interchangeably and can be highly personable, a trait that helped him lure four Westerners into a kidnapping in India in 1994.
Mr. Saeed, 29, later told investigators he hadn't been looking for someone to abduct but coincidentally ran into Mr. Kadir, who told him that an American journalist was seeking an interview with Mr. Gilani. Mr. Saeed decided to meet Mr. Pearl himself. He chatted with Mr. Pearl for two hours at the hotel, at which time Mr. Pearl asked whether Mr. Saeed could arrange the interview with Mr. Gilani. They agreed to exchange e-mails and discuss the matter.
According to someone familiar with his interrogation, Mr. Saeed said he felt that Mr. Pearl was falling into his trap, and "I might as well do it." His primary interest in Mr. Pearl was that he was an American journalist, Mr. Saeed explained, and kidnapping him would receive wide attention, strike a blow against the U.S. and embarrass Pakistan's government.
According to e-mail traffic retrieved from Mr. Pearl's computer, Mr. Pearl three days later e-mailed "Bashir" a sampling of his published stories that the Pakistani had requested. On Jan. 16 Bashir -- Mr. Saeed -- replied, praising the stories and saying he had conveyed them to Shah Saab, the name he began using for Mr. Gilani. "I am sure that when he returns we can go and see him," says the note. It ends, "I am sorry to have not replied to you earlier. I was pre-occupied with looking after my wife who has been ill. Please pray for her health. Looking forward to seeing you."
Mr. Pearl replied that evening, "I wish a speedy recovery for your wife, and look forward to seeing you soon in Islamabad. I'll be back Friday. Best regards, Daniel Pearl." Receiving no reply after three days, Mr. Pearl, who was traveling with his wife, Mariane, followed up on Jan. 19: "Hello. How is everything? Are you back from Karachi? Is your wife okay? We're in Islamabad again, will be leaving Pakistan early Thursday. Hope to meet with you and with Sheikh Gilani before then."
"Bashir" replied later Jan. 19 with a long message. He apologized for having misplaced Mr. Pearl's phone number, related a story of small-time Pakistani corruption in which he would pay off "relevant people" to obtain a phone line at his home, and told of his wife's difficult hospital experience. "The poor people who fall ill here and have to go to hospital have a really miserable and harassing time. It made me realize once again that our family has a lot to be grateful for. The Shaikh says that gratitude is the essence of faith," he wrote, referring to Mr. Gilani. In fact, Mr. Gilani, detained later by police, told authorities that he didn't know Mr. Pearl was seeking an interview with him until after the kidnapping was publicized.
Mr. Saeed later told police that his e-mails and discussion of his wife were meant to develop a relaxed relationship with his victim -- a strategy he'd learned in previous kidnappings. On Jan. 19, Mr. Saeed, possibly intending to increase the comfort level, went so far as to imply that Mr. Pearl need not meet Mr. Gilani in person, that answers to his questions could be gotten via e-mail. "I spoke to the Shaikh's secretary yesterday and he told me that Shaikh-Saab has read your articles and that you are welcome to meet him. However it will be a number of days before he returns from Karachi," said an e-mail from the man Mr. Pearl knew as Bashir. "If Karachi is in your program you are welcome to see him there. Or if you want to put some questions to him you can mail them to me and I will pass the printout to his secretary. Or if you want to wait until he returns here that is fine also. Wish you the best and look forward to hearing from you."