The barbarous murder of the Wall Street Journal journalist Daniel Pearl has shocked the world.
The mastermind behind the kidnapping and subsequent murder of Daniel Pearl appears to be the 27-year-old British-born Moslem fanatic Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh. Arrested in Lahore two weeks ago after turning himself in, he has given contradictory evidence of the run of events since the kidnapping of Mr. Pearl on January 23rd, when he was preparing to investigate the activities of a fundamentalist Islamist group in Pakistan and its ties with the British shoe bomber, Richard Reid, arrested after trying to blow up explosives in his shoes while on an American Airlines aircraft.
First, he claimed that Mr. Pearl was alive but then said he had been killed because the ransom he had asked for had not been paid. Now there is no doubt. The videotape sent to the US Consulate in Karachi shows Mr. Pearl being stabbed to death and then beheaded.
This was not the first time Ahmed Sheikh has acted. Back in 1994, he had trapped three British and one American tourists into a kidnapping in India. This attempt ended when he was shot and wounded by Indian troops, who stormed his hideaway. Imprisoned, he was released in 1999 in exchange for 155 Indian passengers who had been taken hostage in the hijacking of an Indian Airlines aircraft. He fled to Kandahar, where the Taleban helped him to disappear. He claimed that he lured Mr. pearl to his fate in the same way and detectives are convinced that he has been involved in several other kidnappings and murders. Sheikh even claimed that he had planned the December 13th attack on the Indian Parliament, which led India and Pakistan to the verge of war.
The US justice department is planning to extradite this criminal from Pakistan, as detectives hunt down the other kidnappers, some of whom Sheikh has already named.
The Editor of the Wall Street Journal, Paul Steiger, called this murder “an act of barbarism that makes a mockery of everything Danny’s kidnappers claimed to believe in”.
Killing an innocent, unarmed journalist, a civilian, is an act of extreme cowardice, a clear demonstration by those evil minds behind this heinous deed that they do not belong in today’s world. They are a disgrace to their people and their religion, receiving hatred instead of understanding and causing a generalised desire for their extermination. Rather than acting in the name of any great cause, these individuals are nothing more than cowardly murderers.
Timothy BANCROFT-HINCHEY PRAVDA.Ru
Rescuers found the pilot of one of the two Su-34 fighters that had collided in midair in the Far East on January 18