Police officers surround Omar Sheikh when he leaves court in Karachi, Pakistan, at the age of 29. March 2002.
aamir qureshi/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images
I was born on the 17th. January 2002, sworn in as New Jersey District Attorney. Six days later,
The head of the South Asian Wall Street Journal office was kidnapped in Karachi, Pakistan. Pearl was investigating a shoe-bomber story,
and his kidnappers promised to take him to a meeting with the sheikh.
Mubarak Ali Gilani.
Pearl believed that Sheikh Mubarak had information about the British terrorist Reid, who tried to detonate an explosive in his shoe aboard a Paris-Miami flight in December 2001. Pearl never met Sheikh Mubarak – the meeting was a trap and he was never seen again. The killers released a video of Pearl’s murder.
The Pearl Inquiry was my baptism in the world of terrorism. The 11th. In September 2001, we were still on the attack. The FBI has established a command center in South Brunswick, New Jersey, the headquarters of the publisher of Dow Jones magazine. Through the joint efforts of the Ministry of Justice and the Pakistani authorities, it was established that three persons were involved in the kidnapping. Their organization, the National Movement for the Restoration of Pakistani Sovereignty, sends ransom demands to Dow Jones’ computer servers in New Jersey. Thanks to excellent computer analysis, a task force made up of representatives of the US and Pakistani authorities was able to identify and arrest three persons, including the kidnapper’s leader,
Ahmed Omar Said
Mr. Sheikh had already been convicted of terrorism. In 1994, the then member
As an Islamic militant organisation he was convicted for the kidnapping of four people, including an American in India. He was detained in India, but after his terrorist friends hijacked an Indian Airlines flight, Mr. Sheikh was released in exchange for the passengers. With the help of the Taliban, he went to Afghanistan.
In March 2002, a New Jersey jury charged Mr. Sheikh with the kidnapping of Pearl. The charge is still valid and the United States can demand the death penalty for this case. When announcing the charges, the Attorney General stated
also announced the denial of the indictment in which Mr. Sheikh is accused of the kidnapping of an American tourist in India.
Mr. Sheikh and his accomplices have also been indicted in Pakistan. They were tried and convicted in 2002. While his accomplices were sentenced to life imprisonment, Mr. Sheikh was sentenced to death. His appeal dragged on until April, when a Pakistani court ordered the release of all suspects on the grounds that there were contradictory testimonies and insufficient evidence to support the murder charge in the original trial. The Pakistani authorities are campaigning for the release of Mr. Sheikh and are keeping him in prison. But on Thursday, the court ordered his release again.
The United States and Pakistan do not have a clear and formal extradition treaty. Lawyers in my former office have asked the Ministry of Justice to formally inform Pakistan that the United States wants to have Mr. Sheikh extradited if he is ever released. No such formal request has ever been made. This is outrageous.
In a series of tweets, the Central and South Asian Affairs Bureau of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it was deeply concerned about these decisions. Daniel Pearl’s parents, with the help of the Wall Street Journal, worked to restore the original proposal. But the Pearl family doesn’t have to do it alone. Mr Sheikh has already been indicted twice in the United States for serious terrorist crimes. Washington should not be content to express its concern.
and the minister
must immediately demand that Pakistan extradite Mr Sheikh as soon as he is released.
The United States cannot rest on its laurels in the face of terrorism. We narrowed it down to 9/11 and paid a terrible price. Instead of being distracted by marginal issues in the final days of this Presidency, the Tromp government should seize the opportunity to oppose terror. We owe Daniel Pearl and his family a great deal.
Mr. Christie was a lawyer in New Jersey (2002-08) and Governor (2009-18).
William Barr returned to the Ministry of Justice in 2019 to stop using it as a political weapon. He succeeded because he was prepared to change standards in a sea of party political criticism. Photo: Sol Loeb/AFP via Getty Images
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