The United States is offering a reward of up to $5 million for information leading to the capture of those who killed Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl in Pakistan. The move is intended to give a boost to Pakistan's investigation of the case.
Mr. Pearl's killing, confirmed last week in a gruesome videotape given to Pakistani authorities, shocked administration officials and the journalistic community, and it prompted the State Department to include the Pearl case as part of its world-wide anti-terrorist rewards program.
The announcement came from State Department spokesman Richard Boucher, who said both the United States and Pakistan are "firmly committed" to identifying all those involved in the murder and bringing them to justice. "We were outraged by the senseless murder of Daniel Pearl," he said. "We've condemned it in the strongest terms and today we're announcing a $5 million reward for information leading to the arrest or conviction, in any country, of those responsible for the kidnapping and murder of Daniel Pearl. We've posted this reward offer on the Rewards for Justice web site. We'll also advertise this offer in Pakistan in the near future."
Mr. Pearl, the Wall Street Journal's South Asia bureau chief, was abducted in Karachi January 23 after he set out to meet intermediaries he hoped would arrange a meeting with a radical Muslim cleric.
A group calling itself the National Movement for the Restoration of Pakistani Sovereignty claimed responsibility for the kidnapping, and demanded, among other things, the release of Pakistani detainees at the U.S. Navy base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
The alleged mastermind of the Pearl kidnapping, Ahmed Omar Saeed, is being held in Pakistan and police are looking for several other suspects. The United States has asked for the extradition of the lead suspect and spokesman Boucher says talks on the issue will continue.
Officials here say the decision to put up the reward does not reflect any U.S. dissatisfaction with Pakistan's conduct of the investigation, but is intended to reinforce the effort, to find those responsible for Mr. Pearl's abduction and murder.