Making A Difference

The Brutal Beheading Of Daniel Pearl

A video showing the beheading of Wall Street Journal correspondent Daniel Pearl was first delivered to a Pakistani journalist acting as an informer for the US FBI.

The Brutal Beheading Of Daniel Pearl

The kidnappers who seized Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl and heldhim hostage, killed him by cutting his throat, the videotape furnished byPakistani police to the FBI shows.

The videotape, said The Washington Post, "shows Pearl speaking withsomeone, almost as if he were conducting an interview, when suddenly an unseenassailant takes a knife to his throat," according to a Pakistani source. 

The tape was reportedly first delivered to a Pakistani journalist acting as an informer for the US Federal Bureau of Investigation agents, a provincial government official and a police officer saidin Karachi on Friday.

"The Pakistani journalist took some time to deliver the video to the US Consulate late on Thursday night," the Karachi-based official said, requesting anonymity.

He did not identify the journalist or who gave him the video. Earlier one of the chief investigators of Pearl's abduction said the Pakistani journalist was working as an informer for FBI officers.

"He was an informant for FBI agents," the investigator told AFP, requesting anonymity.

"It took him a while to get in contact with the Consulate in Karachi, where the video was eventually delivered by 10.30 pm (2300IST) on Thursday night."

The tape includes no date, no audio, and no faces other than Pearl's, thesource said.

The grisly footage of Pearl being executed was relayed to the U.S. Consulatein Karachi, according to U.S. and Pakistani sources close to the investigation.

Pearl's body has not been found but authorities said they believe thevideotape to be authentic.

The full scope of who was involved in the kidnapping has not beenestablished. It is not known when he was killed or under what circumstances.Pakistani investigators had detained several suspects but in recent daysappeared to be making little progress.

The three-minute video shows the hands of kidnappers, their faces off-screen, beheading the abducted 38-year-old reporter as he talks into the camera, the investigator said.

"The camera is focused on Pearl's face. Suddenly his head is chopped off," he said, adding that a "blunt weapon" was used.
The videotape showed at least two people taking part in the slaying but more could have been involved, he said, adding it was unclear from the tape when the slaying took place.

The FBI agents have been assisting Pakistan Police in their month-long hunt for Pearl and his abductors, according to US and Pakistan officials here

Pearl was kidnapped on January 23, after going to interview little knownmilitant leader Mubarak Ali Shah Gilani as part of a story on the murkyunderworld of Islamic extremism in Pakistan in the aftermath of the September 11terror attacks.

The kidnappers' trail went cold since the last of two e-mails was sent tonews organisations last month, containing pictures of the reporter in chainswith a gun pointed at his head.

His kidnappers demanded the release of Pakistani nationals among prisoners ofthe Afghan war held by the United States at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and animprovement in the conditions of other captives.

Top US officials were adamant however that they would not bow to the demandseven as authorities in Pakistan conducted a massive manhunt for Pearl andcollected scraps of information.

"Both the United States and Pakistan are committed to identifying allthe perpetrators of this crime and bringing them to justice," Boucheradded. Pearl's family released a statement saying "our worst fears havebeen realised. Up until a few hours ago, we were confident that Danny wouldreturn safely, for we believed no human being would be capable of harming such agentle soul."

"Danny's senseless murder lies beyond our comprehension. Danny was abeloved son, a brother, an uncle, a husband and a father to a child who he willnever know," the family said.

The Wall Street Journal said its staff was "heartbroken.""His murder is an act of barbarism that makes a mockery of everythingDanny's kidnappers claimed to believe in," said Wall Street Journal publisherPeter Kann and the paper's managing editor Paul Steiger.

"They claimed to be Pakistani nationalists, but their actions mustsurely bring shame to all Pakistani patriots." Pearl's murder will likelyimpose renewed pressure on Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, who has beenunder intense pressure over the past two months to crack down on militantIslamic groups.

Musharraf said last week during a visit to Washington that he believed thatPearl may have been kidnapped in response to the crackdown. Bush publiclypraised the Pakistani authorities for their efforts to find Pearl's kidnappers.

News of Pearl's death came hours after three men accused of sending e-mailscontaining photos of Pearl and threats to kill him appeared in a heavily guardedPakistani court.

Fahad Naseem and Salman Saquib, cousins believed to be members of theoutlawed extremist group Jaish-e-Mohammad, and a former police intelligenceofficer, Sheikh Adil, were remanded in custody by an anti-terrorism court onFebruary 12.

A British-born Islamic militant known as Sheikh Omar, who is suspected oforchestrating the kidnapping, had earlier told a court that Pearl was dead.Naseem told the court Thursday that Saquib took him to meet Omar two days beforePearl's abduction.

"Omar told me they would kidnap a person who is a Jew andanti-Islam," Naseem said, according to a copy of his court statement.Investigators believe up to 10 people were involved in abducting Pearl, whodisappeared after heading off to interview a little known Islamic militantleader for a story on Muslim extremists.


(with PTI and AFP inputs from Karachi and Washington)