Monday, February 4, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

US scribe’s fate still uncertain
3 held for sending fake e-mails

Islamabad, February 3
The fate of kidnapped US reporter Daniel Pearl continued to remain unclear today as the police reported no fresh clues on the 10th day of his abduction, despite the arrest of the person who phoned the US consulate in Karachi for a $ 2-million ransom and three others for sending fake e-mail messages.

Interior Minister Moinuddin Haider admitted today that no breakthrough has been made in the case.

“So far no breakthrough has been made, but some progress has been made in investigations,” Mr Haider told reporters.

He said two persons in Karachi and one from Lahore had been arrested for sending fake e-mail messages. The police in Karachi said it was now confronted with the problem of determining which e-mails were genuine.

To simplify the matter, the police said it was taking the first two e-mails with pictures showing the Mumbai-based Wall Street Journal reporter in chains with his captors holding a gun to his head seriously and the rest as hoaxes.

The police has also formed a special investigation team headed by Senior Police Superintendent Mir Zubai Mahmoud, trained in anti-terror tactics and crisis-management in the USA. An FBI team is already in Karachi to assist the police. Pearl, 38, was abducted from Karachi on January 23 while working on a story about Islamic militants.

The police now believes that Pearl’s kidnappers might have moved him to a different location outside Karachi.

An open letter by Pearl’s wife, Marianne, was published in newspapers today asking the kidnappers to free her husband “as people inspired by Islam’s ethics.”

Meanwhile, former ISI Director-General Hamid Gul believes no Pakistani group is involved in the kidnapping of the American reporter, which, he said, may be a reaction to the war in Afghanistan and the US policies elsewhere.

He, however, said “...whoever has done that has definitely done a great deal of disservice to Pakistan. This has damaged Pakistan’s cause and its position and the incident in Kolkata was also aimed at harming Pakistan’s image and now this one definitely, it is to put Pakistan in the corner.” PTIBack

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