- While U.S. journalist Daniel Pearl had in general told
people, who came into contact with him in the days prior to his abduction
and murder, that he was completing a story on shoe-bomb terrorist Richard
Reid, there is now increased evidence that he was also looking at far more
- Some of those who had spoken to Pearl during his stay
in Karachi believe that his main interest was in looking into the links
between certain agencies in Pakistan with religious militancy. The Inter-Services
Intelligence (ISI), the most powerful agency in the country, had also received
Pearl's attention during this investigation.
- In fact, at least one journalist who met Pearl in Islamabad
had advised him to be "very careful" while pursuing his particular
line of inquiry. Two other journalists, approached to act as local resource
persons for Pearl, had apparently turned down the offer because "what
Pearl wanted to get at was difficult to obtain and touched in several very
- There are also sources who insist that General Pervez
Musharraf was also aware, though it is not certain at which stage, of the
line of inquiry being followed by Pearl.
- While some sources say Musharraf knew of this only after
the abduction, others say "intelligence reports" about the kind
of questions Pearl was asking had reached him before the sudden disappearance
of the newsman.
- It is also rumoured that Pearl was in fact especially
interested in any role played by the U.S. in training the ISI or backing
it in any way, especially during the war against the Soviets in Afghanistan
in the 1980s.
- "Details of any U.S.-ISI cooperation would of course
not be appreciated even in Washington, especially regarding U.S. cooperation
in promoting any kind of Islamic militancy," stated a source close
to the Pakistan foreign office.
- It may be noted that Pearl was known in New York, where
the newspaper he worked for, The Wall Street Journal, is based, as a reporter
willing to expose U.S. involvement in matters of some embarrassment for
the government in Washington.
- One of his last major stories for instance had focussed
on the fact that some of the atrocities allegedly committed in Kosovo may
have been "fabricated" with Western forces aware of this, even
as the international media was informed about the war crimes carried out.
- Other stories had also been in many cases equally radical.
"Pearl was clearly a determined kind of guy. He had some very interesting
facts in his knowledge, possibly provided by Indian intelligence and he
was not willing to take hints, suggesting that he proceed with caution,"
said one officer who works with a premier intelligence agency.
- It is now believed that such hints had been delivered
to Pearl through local journalists, who are usually well-aware of the need
to steer clear of dangerous territory. Indeed, it is also thought that
Pearl rented a house in Karachi rather than putting up at a hotel, because
he wanted "complete privacy" while meeting certain people.
- The question of precisely what story Pearl was looking
into have drawn more attention after the events that followed.
- It is also rumoured that Pearl's wife provided some details
to the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), but was not aware of
the whole picture. Whether this entire picture will ever emerge is a question
that remains open, with the investigation into Pearl's death having apparently
reached what seems like a near total dead-end, and work on the matter "slowing
down" according to police officials involved in the case.