Daniel Pearl. (AFP)
Daniel Pearl. (AFP)

Pakistan arrests suspect linked to murder of Daniel Pearl

New York, March 18, 2013–Pakistani authorities announced today that they have apprehended a militant who was allegedly involved in the 2002 murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl in Karachi, according to news reports.

“As with every journalist murder, any and all perpetrators in the slaying of Daniel Pearl must be prosecuted and punished,” said CPJ Asia Program Coordinator Bob Dietz. “In order to curb growing impunity in Pakistan, it is imperative that authorities send the strongest possible signal that acts of anti-press violence will not go unpunished.”

The Pakistan Rangers paramilitary force said they detained Qari Abdul Hayee, popularly known as Asadullah, on Sunday during a raid on an unspecified location in Karachi, according to a Rangers spokesman, reports said.

Hayee was a former chief of the militant group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi in the southern province of Sindh, reports said. Hayee was arrested in May 2003 for allegedly murdering six Shia Muslims in 1994 and was linked in the planning and carrying out of Pearl’s kidnapping and murder, but was never charged, reports said. It is unclear why Hayee, who had been sentenced to death in the six murders, was free.

Pearl, 38, was last seen on his way to an interview on January 23, 2002, in Karachi. His dismembered body was found more than three months later. The high-profile killing in Pakistan is the only known journalist murder case in Pakistan in which even partial justice was carried out. A recent report by the Center for Public Integrity reveals that only four of the 27 men allegedly involved in his kidnapping and murder were charged and convicted.

Pakistan ranks 10th on CPJ’s Impunity Index, which calculates unsolved journalist murders as a percentage of each country’s population, and shows that Pakistani authorities routinely fail to bring prosecutions in journalist murders. At least 24 journalist murders have gone unpunished since Pearl’s murder in 2002, CPJ research shows.

  • For more data and analysis on Pakistan, visit CPJ’s Attacks on the Press.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This alert has been corrected to reflect Pakistan’s correct ranking on CPJ’s Impunity Index.