Los Angeles Times
Sunday, February 24, 2002
MORE THAN PEARL WAS LOST
How Pakistan responds to his death will determine the country's future
by Mansoor Ijaz
Mansoor Ijaz, an American of Pakistani origin who worked with Mujahedeen leaders to bring about the 2000 ceasefire in Kashmir, first introduced Daniel Pearl to Muslim fundamentalists in Pakistan after September 11.
The loss of Daniel Pearl at the hands of his inhuman captors represents much more than the loss of a husband, father, son and friend. His death represents the defamation of a country trying hard to pull back from the brink of failure at the hands of extremists who are prepared to go to any length to project their insanity. And it puts another black mark on a great religion, Islam.
The strategic consequences of this heinous crime are no less than the future of Pakistani society itself; for any Pakistani -- military or civilian -- to say otherwise is to dishonor the cause for which Pearl's life was taken from him.
Pearl was not a just a journalist working for The Wall Street Journal. He was a symbol of American intellectual and financial power. His kidnapping was not a hostage drama, it was a message to Gen. Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan's president, that much more than eloquent speeches threatening the fanatics with doom would be needed to stop them. His brutal videotaped execution was a message to the families of Americans and Westerners everywhere who would dare enter the lair of Islam's fanatics of what awaited them if they continued to challenge Islamist mendacity and arrogance.
And for now, the message has put a screeching halt to the restructuring of Pakistan's foundations. Pakistan cannot rebuild without a lot of help in reconstructing its corroded economy.
Most, if not all, of that help will come from the U.S. as reward for Islamabad's staunch support of the effort to eradicate Al Qaeda and the Taliban. But it won't happen if American CEOs who seek to invest there or U.S. lawmakers who have to consider aid grants come to the conclusion that internal forces struggling for control over Pakistan's future course are pulling in such divergent directions that private American citizens trying to help rebuild the country are not safe.
Musharraf has much to explain to the U.S. before we can commit our intellectual, financial and legislative resources to his restructuring proposal.
His first act must be to allow the U.S. to extradite without delay Omar Saeed, the man believed to be the mastermind of the Pearl kidnapping. A trial of those responsible is essential for the American people and for the Pearl family's closure.
Musharraf must also seriously crack down on the fanatics in his midst. Cleaning up Pakistan's notoriously corrupt police and intelligence bureaus should be the highest priorities. Without their connivance, the Pearl kidnapping may have been resolved much earlier and without the damaging political consequences it has now sewn. Merely rounding up assorted hucksters and gangsters is little more than media manipulation and it has to stop. The American people are not naive.
Musharraf has to then crack down on the illicit black market economy that funds militancy and extremism. If need be, use the army to take the guns and drugs off Pakistan's streets. The risk of civil war is minimal because Pakistan's militants are cowards. They can only hide in dark alleys at night for their prey.
Musharraf has to lead the way, walking the streets himself with baton in hand if necessary, to demonstrate to Pakistan's silent majority that he is dead serious about taking on those who would destroy their country. Musharraf wants to leave a legacy; well, here is his chance.
The extremists who are believed to have murdered Pearl are men who know not even the first verses of the Koran, whose word they so desperately seek to spread with their violence and hatred. They seek only political gain from their acts of violence in the name of a religion they know nothing about.
It is time for the Islamic world - particularly the large numbers of moderates in Pakistan - to rise up against them and stop their criminal hypocrisy.
Daniel Pearl will live on as a symbol of the hope that men and women of good will have in trying to understand each other's human deficiencies. May almighty Allah rest his soul in peace for the good work he did on this Earth.
PAKISTAN IS AN ISLAMIC REPUBLIC, THROUGH AND THROUGH. HOW IT WAS BORN (ILLEGITIMATE BASTARD THROUGH CAESARIAN!), HOW IT DID THE ETHNIC CLEANSING OF MINORITIES WITHIN A YEAR OF BIRTH, HOW IT SPAWNED THE TALIBAN AND THE TERRORISTS TO GO ACROSS HER FRONTIERS FROM CHECHNIYA TO KASHMIR AND AFGHANISTAN, AND HOW IT TREATS HER WOMEN AND MINORITIES IS THE UNFOLDING OF KORAN AND THE IDEOLOGY OF MOHAMMED OF (SAVAGE) ARABIA HIMSELF.
THE END TO PAKISTAN'S WOES AND MISERY IS TO BRING HER SCHIZOPHRENIC BRAINWASHED PEOPLE, AFFLICTED WITH ARABIC LANGUAGE AND ALIEN CULTURE, BACK TO THEIR NATIVE INDIAN ROOTS.
THEY WILL HAVE PEACE AND ALSO LOOK DECENT TO THEIR OWN CHILDREN.