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Thursday, 28 February, 2002, 10:19 GMT
Journalist's death: What happens next?
The US ambassador in Pakistan, Wendy Chamberlin, has held talks about the possible extradition of the main suspect in the kidnapping and murder of US reporter Daniel Pearl.

Sheikh Omar, who was arrested on 12 February, has allegedly admitted that he planned the abduction of Daniel Pearl in Karachi in January.

In a BBC interview, the journalist's widow, Mariane Pearl called on the Pakistani people and police to find her husband's killers.

Mrs Pearl - who is expecting the couple's first baby - said she would stay in Pakistan for a time to attend different memorial services for Daniel Pearl.

Has Pearl's killing have any effect on America's fight against terrorism? Should other journalists continue to work in the region?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.


Your reaction


I wish to give my deepest and heartfelt sympathy to the Pearl family

Mohammed Siddiqui, UK
As a Pakistani I wish to give my deepest and heartfelt sympathy to the Pearl family especially for his wife and unborn child. This racist murder by these extremists has not only destroyed any or whatever normality we have left in Pakistan but it has now put more innocent blood on Islam.
Mohammed Siddiqui, UK

Journalists are always at risk in hostile situations. Pearl knew this and he paid the ultimate price for taking the risk. The one observation we should make from this is how much Americans (and Americans only) are now detested and hated by others. It should draw us to ask the question why. Making meaningless blanket condemnations will solve nothing.
Bilal Patel, London, UK

When one American is killed the whole world goes into mourning. Although it was unfair for Daniel Pearl to be murdered, look at all the millions of people the US has savagely killed (Japan, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan etc). Why do they feel that the life of Americans is more precious than those of others?
Steven Carter,

This murder provides Musharraf with an opportunity to clean out the Pakistani security services - ISI, police and army - of Isalmist extremists. Only once this is done and the truly tiny popular support for these kind of people is demonstrated, can he hope to bring Pakistan out of the darkness.
Kev Brown, Wales


Terrorism will always exist

Francene LaDue, US
Unfortunately, terrorism will always exist and safety is an illusion. As a species, we are at times, deplorable.
Francene LaDue, US

I agree with Francene LaDue's comments. Certain elements of society have lost their sense of rational thinking. Fanatical men of one culture or religion want to kill men, women or children of another. Terrorism has been on the increase for many years and will continue. Unfortunately, religion has been the reason behind most wars. As a start, injustice should be taken more seriously. I am very sad that a journalist died trying to tell the truth.
SG, UK

My thoughts go out to Mr Pearl's family and friends. May his cowardly killers meet the fate they deserve.
Ken Pack, Tennessee, USA


These extremists achieved nothing

Shekar, USA
Daniel Pearl was murdered in the most gruesome fashion imaginable. It is a dark day in the history of human civilisation. Above all, these extremists achieved nothing with the murder and were shameless in videotaping the heinous act. I pity the more moderate Musharraf and wish him success in annihilating these barbarians and extremists operating within Pakistan.
Shekar, USA

Those who use an excuse, such as religion, to carry out sick and inhumane deeds are, obviously, psychologically messed up. They are worse than animals, and it is a shame that we call them humans. The best policy, perhaps, is to punish them so severely that anyone interested in such crimes will think hard before doing them. My heartfelt condolences to all the victims of such creatures.
SK, USA

Pearl's senseless, tragic death will only harden the West's feelings against the terrorists. I hope the peaceful Muslims in that region can see it in their hearts to offer up these radicals for punishment. My heart goes out to the Pearl family, his widow and unborn child and all journalists trying to do their job and bring the real stories from all sides to the world.
Mac, Canada

The abductors said that they treated him the same way that the US was treating prisoners in Cuba. Does this mean that they expect us in the US to kill our prisoners?
WL, US


Thank goodness we have people like Mr Pearl shining the light in the shadows

Mike, US
I feel enormous grief for the Pearl family. I am expecting my first child soon and I still can't imagine the pain his wife and family must be feeling. Mr Pearl is the example of integrity and courage that should be the marker for all journalists. Thank goodness we have people like Mr Pearl out there shining the light in the shadows to find these demons. This terrible act will galvanize the West to swiftly put an end to these militants. It demonstrates that until these terrorists are vanquished, we are all in great peril.
Mike, US

Thuggery will never prosper. The kidnapping and murder of innocents eliminate any sense of morality for any cause; there can be no justification for such acts. Humanity abhors this. People who perpetuate these crimes are therefore inhuman. The fight against terrorism prevails.
Tony Lopes, South Africa


The anti-terror alliance has not been tough enough with Pakistan

Bala, US
The American-led anti-terror alliance has not been tough enough with Pakistan. Hope this prompts the US and other anti-terror allies to bring greater pressure on Musharraf to rein in the terrorists.
Bala, US

The terrorists' cowardly killing of Daniel Pearl was no ordinary kidnapping incident but reflects the deep power struggle going on inside Pakistan. While kidnapping is pretty common in Karachi, the primary motivation was usually money. In this case, it is clearly a threat to Musharaf's efforts to change the course of Pakistan. The best non-military solution to the terrorist problem in Pakistan is to pressurise Musharaf to crack down on terrorists even harder. The problem is compounded by the fact that the intelligence agencies and part of his military had a very close nexus with the terrorists pre-11 September and many of them continue to have the nexus. It is a struggle within the segments of the Pakistani Government. If Musharaf fails in his struggle and if the terrorists and their backers take charge of Pakistan, the consequences could be devastating for everyone in the world.
Senthil Kumar, US


Why wasn't the ransom paid and dealt with?

Craig Barber, England
Why wasn't the ransom paid and dealt with? If a death can be avoided then it should...who puts a price on a human's head needlessly?
Craig Barber, England

Pakistan has to take strong and effective steps against Islamic militants soon or else it can be the next target in the war against terrorism.
Neil, US

I just hope that Bush doesn't decide on some crazy scheme for retaliation - that's just what the morons that killed him want.
Gwen Mtambirwa, UK


He died a journalistic martyr: risking his life to bring us the story

Bradley Miles Davis, Omaha, Neb., US
As a young journalist, I can say I hope this only strengthens the resolve of reporters, photographers and editors to get to the bottom of the many stories that surround this horrible and maniacal form of radical Islam. These radicals want to scare all of us into a state of paralysis, but we must stand strong. May Danny Pearl rest in peace, and may it be some solace to his family - and an example to us all - that he died a journalistic martyr: risking his life to bring us the story.
Bradley Miles Davis, Omaha, Neb., US

I feel sorrow for Mr Pearl's family. His death means there is one less journalist available to us for getting information from both sides of the war on terrorism. I fear without people like him many of us will settle for killing or imprisoning people without carefully examining the root causes of terrorism... and we shall contribute to the development of more angry and alienated people.
Joseph McGowan, SJ, US


As a US citizen I DEMAND an investigation

Kedar Bhandary, Santa Clara, CA, US
My heartfelt condolences to Marianne Pearl and the entire family. May his soul rest in peace. I am outraged by this whole incident. Instead of co-operating with the investigating authorities, the Pakistani authorities were dragging their feet, deliberately or otherwise, by making unwarranted and baseless allegations of an Indian hand. This despite knowing that the main suspect, Omar Saeed, has committed terrorist acts in India itself. As a US citizen I DEMAND an investigation by my government on this incident and an explanation from the Pakistani administration.
Kedar Bhandary, Santa Clara, CA, US


Journalists don't do an easy job. They have to fight against readers incredulity, against governments and individuals who do not want the truth to be known

Pascal Jacquemain, UK
Journalists don't do an easy job. They have to fight against readers incredulity, against governments and individuals who do not want the truth to be known. They go to war zones where even soldiers would not wander. They want to investigate, show what is hidden and sometimes they lose their lives. I hope that the Pakistani police, and perhaps other journalists, will find those who did this horrible and unjustifiable act, expose and punish them. I do not think this will have much effect on the war on terrorism, however declarations by Pakistan after the kidnap accusing India to be responsible will make the situation between the two giants even more precarious.
Pascal Jacquemain, UK (French)

Let's not hide the fact: Pearl's kidnappers said they killed him because he was Jewish. This was a racist murder, and should be treated as such
Zayin Aroch, Israel

The list of atrocities carried out in the name of Islam grows daily. I cannot remember a single day passing without news of some barbaric murder, execution or massacre done in Islam's name. It's about time our leaders stopped pretending that this list of evils has nothing to do with religion and instead faced the facts.
Michael Entill, UK


The killing demonstrates again the vulnerability in the defences in Western civilisation

Edward Davis, England
The killing demonstrates again the vulnerability in the defences in Western civilisation. I can't help feeling as my intuition tells me, that this murder and the 11 September massacre were carried out to demonstrate the weakness in the defences of the West.
Edward Davis, England

Those responsible for the kidnap and slaughter of Daniel Pearl claimed they acted to force the US to either release Pakistani nationals held at Camp X-Ray or improve the conditions under which they were being held. What right do they have to demand this when their idea of humane treatment of a prisoner/victim is to cut his throat on camera? I hope all the bleeding hearts who raised a hue and cry about inhumane treatment of captives by the US now have a clearer perspective of what inhumane actually is.
Alan Grove, United Kingdom

Had the US Government treated the captives in accordance to the Geneva Convention, this regrettable act would not have occurred.
Robin, US

Those terrorists have shown that respect for human life is the last thing on their mind. May Pearl's soul rest in peace.
Bhaskar, US

It's sad to hear of Mr Pearl's death, but it's also sad to look at the number of civilians the US has killed, even if we only look at Afghanistan. People say that it is a violation of human rights that Pearl is now dead, but isn't it also against international law to use cluster bombs, or to deliberately target civilians (Vietnam)? No, Daniel Pearl should not have died, but neither should the millions of innocent civilians in Japan, Vietnam, Iraq or Afghanistan that the US has killed.
Karl Brown (16), UK


It seems there is a lot to be done and there is a need for tolerance without interference from the outer world

Peter Volford, Hungary
Mr Daniel Pearl's death is a terrible loss as well as a serious shock for the press. It can't be justified how journalists are lost just because the world, hungry for information, forces them to plunge into risky situations. As far as counter measures are concerned, personally I believe America and her allies, old and new, should restrain from strong reactions.
Emphasized diplomatic efforts will serve the best, so let the diplomats highlight that the outer world trusts Pakistan's police forces, who are capable of co-operating internationally and of catching the kidnappers. Pakistan will have to fight its conscience and battle for inner security. It seems there is a lot to be done and there is a need for tolerance without interference from the outer world.
Peter Volford, Hungary

"Alas," said the mouse, "the world is growing smaller every day. At the beginning it was so big that I was afraid, I kept running and running, and I was glad when at last I saw walls for away to the right and left, but these long walls have narrowed so quickly that I am in the last chamber already, and there in the corner stands the trap that I must run into."
"You only need to change your direction," said the cat, and ate it up.
- Franz Kafka
This is all I can write.
Ambedkar, Germany


What have Pearl's killers gained by his brutal murder?

Amy George, US
What have Pearl's killers gained by his brutal murder? I strongly believe that whatever their grievances against the West, they get no sympathy whatsoever from a majority of the world. My condolences to the Pearl family.
Amy George, US

Religion is the root of all evil. As long as journalists report on this and get close to these fanatics there will be more kidnappings and more deaths. You can't argue with blind faith.
Declan, UK

Attack! That's all the US is capable of thinking of, and Tony Blair and other sheep will be happy to follow suit. Obviously it would be better to let the leader of Pakistan sort it out on his own, as he seems to be very intelligent and more than able to keep all sides happy.
Steve, UK


Even the Pakistan authorities were unclear about the motive of Daniel Pearl's murder

Chris Mark, England
This latest vengeance by yet another 'unknown Islamic extremist group' against a Westerner is an abomination. Even the Pakistan authorities were unclear about the motive of Daniel Pearl's murder. The nature of journalism means that a certain amount of risk is involved to get a good story, but I think it would be best if all future investigative reporting is carried out in these nations involved in high terrorism, under armed escort.
Chris Mark, England

"The kidnappers of Mr Pearl had threatened to kill him in retaliation for the US treatment of suspected Islamic militants captured in Afghanistan."
That's strange. I don't remember the Americans slitting any Afghan throats and having the barbarity to video it. This shows the world exactly what the terrorists are like. The sooner they're hunted down and punished, the better.
Steve, England

This will have no effect on the West. This poor man is just a pawn in the ongoing conflict - the Islamic extremists want him dead because is typifies the excessive US influence over Islam. The US government is happy to see him dead as they can cite this as another case of 'terrorism' to back up THEIR 'war'. I feel extremely sorry for his family as they are the ones to feel the hurt, not Bush or Islamic extremists.
Martina, UK

This is an unacceptable violation of human rights; these people should be caught and punished under the law they believe in, that of Islamic law.
Ray, Scotland

When will the moderate Muslims say enough is enough and take positive visible action against these criminal minds hiding behind their religion?
Julian, UK

Julian, UK: Why should moderate Muslims do that? For decades the West has been degrading their religion, and supporting oppressive regimes against their will. I think it is us who should leave our ivory towers and stop blaming others for our own mistakes.
Jennifer, UK


I am just angered by this constant blame on a religion that is so beautiful, so peaceful

Guled, Somalia
I am very sorry to hear that Mr. Pearl is murdered by so-called Muslim extremists. Those responsible should be brought to justice and punished for their crime.
I think these criminals are using Islam as a scapegoat for their agenda. Islam is about peace, understanding and compassion. They showed none of that to Mr. Pearl therefore they went against what their religion teaches. It is difficult for me to understand why someone would kill another. It is something my mind cannot conceive.
I am just angered by this constant blame on a religion that is so beautiful, so peaceful. The blame should be upon the perpetrator and not the religion. I ask all Muslims to work against this kind of behaviour and senseless act.
I would like to see justice done for Daniel Pearl
Guled, Somalia

A dreadful end to a talented life and a disaster for the Islamic world. This is the kind of action that feeds America's bellicose talk; makes reasonable men and women think twice whether Islam really is a peaceful religion; causes journalists pursuing similar stories to be less inquisitive in future; and swings the balance of Western media even further against Islam.
Who needs the Pentagon's covert campaign to win hearts and minds in the "war against terrorism" when Islamic extremists are much better at the job?
Russell, New Zealand

Journalists have a role to play in helping people around the world understand each other's cultures. In the future nobody will ever venture out to or engage in any sort of dialogue with these people, for fear of losing their lives. In short, they have driven another nail into the coffin of Western-Islamic relations. A sad day for Mr Pearl's family and a sad day for the world.
Brendan Fernandes, UK

When I first heard of the kidnap, I thought that the kidnappers weren't really going to murder him. They would tease the US government and get the ransom all the same. This heinous act just shows that militants operate freely in that region and are not "civil" by any definition.
If the "war on terrorism" needs to be refocused, then this is it - target the small militant clusters that are capable of gross and unfettered terrorism. This is not just another death. It is another blow.
Sulove Bothra, UK

See also:

26 Feb 02 | South Asia
Pearl widow backs hunt for killers
26 Feb 02 | South Asia
US seeks Pearl suspect's extradition
21 Feb 02 | South Asia
Kidnapped US reporter is dead
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