Saturday, February 23, 2002, Chandigarh, India - The Tribune
Pearl kidnapping: the mystery & message
The military regime in Pakistan refuses to accept its inability to grapple with the mystery surrounding the disappearance of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl on January 23. The world community, particularly the USA, too seems to be optimistic about solving it sooner or later. The past performance of the Pakistani police, however, belies the hope, specially in the case of an incident in Karachi. In any case, Pearl is dead. Some time ago Interior Minister Moinuddin Haider’s brother was gunned down in Karachi, but his killers are yet to be taken in custody.
According to a study by Yousuf Khan carried in Nawa-e-Waqt on February 8, there is an alarming decline in the law and order situation in the commercial capital of Pakistan. “No one is safe there, whether he is a local or a foreigner. There are hundreds of incidents of crime in Karachi which remain unsolved with no clue available about the criminals’ whereabouts. Who cares for ordinary cases? The police has failed to arrest the criminals behind the murder of the Minister’s brother when he is in charge of the police department!” laments Mr Khan.
Over the years Karachi, with a population of 1.25 crore, has earned a dubious distinction as the most lawless city in Pakistan. In matters of law and order people have more confidence in a military regime than a civilian government. There was a general expectation for better days ahead when General Pervez Musharraf captured power by overthrowing the elected government of Mr Nawaz Sharif. Today, however, people realise that they were hoping against hope. The sensational kidnapping of the American journalist has frightened ordinary Karachiites more than anybody else. Their faith in the capacity of the military regime to safeguard their lives and property is shattered.
Why did the militants kidnap only Daniel Pearl, not any other American reporter, though many of them are there reporting from Pakistan? With the arrest of Sheikh Omar of the Jaish-e-Mohammad outfit and his confessions, it is almost certain that the US journalist was targeted not only to secure the release of the Al-Qaida and Taliban members in American captivity but also to punish him for the story he was doing to expose the lacklustre handling of militant elements. He was about to complete his report that terrorists were thriving despite the much-publicised crackdown on them. According to a Friday Times report, he had obtained the views of Jaish activists saying that the police “left behind enough people to keep their office running.”
Khaled Ahmed, in his analysis in the paper, says that Pearl also “found a Jaish regional centre near Bahawalpur operating as well as a still functioning bank account despite a freeze ordered by the State Bank”.
Whatever the truth, Pearl has become a victim of the raging anti-Americanism in Pakistani society. The involvement of terrorists has added a new dimension to the episode. They are capable of springing a surprise even when “under tremendous pressure” from all sides. The kidnapping has, however, led to a situation when the world attention will be more focused on the military regime’s drive against religious extremism and militant jehad. Any let-up in the campaign will be intolerable.
President Musharraf’s survival has also got linked to the move. That is why he has initiated measures to incapacitate the ISI to derail his plans. But the ISI has its own track record so far as developments within Pakistan are concerned. There are serious challenges that lie ahead for the General. He is not sure of his popularity with the public. This is the reason why he is giving hints that he may manage to remain the President of Pakistan without facing the electorate. It will be interesting to watch how he wins the battle he is fighting on more fronts than one.
and colleagues of the slain American journalist, Daniel Pearl, express sorrow
at his death.
February 20, 2004 http://www.commondreams.org/views04/0217-08.htm
Published on Tuesday, February 17, 2004 by the Independent/UK
My Fight for Danny's Memory
Daniel Pearl was murdered in 2002 while reporting for the Wall Street Journal in Pakistan. For his wife, Mariane Pearl, the lonely battle for justice continues by Mariane Pearl.
- Mariane Pearl's book: "A Mighty Heart" "The Brave Life and
Death of my Husband Danny Pearl"
In it she prints correspondence she received. She ends the book with a paragraph, which includes this verse which she received in one of those letters and cards:
“School Prayer” by Diane Ackerman
“I swear I will not dishonor
my soul with hatred,
but offer myself humbly
as a guardian of nature,
as a healer of misery,
as a messenger of wonder,
as an architect of peace.”