by Amjad Bashir Siddiqi
The News International - Pakistan

"KARACHI - The federal government has taken serious note of the reported leak in the Western press, regarding directives of the Israeli prime minister to pursue the killers of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl.

Citing own intelligence sources, the February 28th issue of Jane's Intelligence reports that "Prime Minister Ariel Sharon directed Ephraim Halevy, Director of the Mossad, to get the assassins of Danny Pearl".

Presumed to be an American, Pearl's family made strenuous efforts to prevent the revelation in the media that he was a Jewish and an Israeli citizen. Pearl was born in New Jersey to Israeli parents, who migrated to the United States in 1960s. According to Danny's father, Yehuda Pearl, a well-known academic born in Tel Aviv, he called all the Israeli papers and asking them to conceal Danny's background. Danny's grandmother, 92, still lives in Tel Aviv, Jane's Intelligence said.

Some members of the family voiced surprise at the Pearl's video in which he had said: "I'm a Jew; so is my father." Yehuda had protested to the Israeli media for blowing whistle on Pearl's religious background, which he believed prompted, the killers to eliminate his son. "Had the Israeli media been discreet, this would have been different," he complained.

The government circles are trying to find out the credibility of the news report, which is posing a problem because of non-existence of diplomatic ties with Tel Aviv. However, the government circles feel this would be a strategic mistake on the part of Tel Aviv to stick out their neck in another volatile area. After all the US interests in Pakistan and elsewhere have come under attack as part of Afghanistan's fallout.

Senior police and Interior Ministry officials say that initially they had doubts about Pearl and now with the directives of Sharon it appears that perhaps "he was used" by the "Coalition (against terror) intelligence agencies to infiltrate into the militants, fighting the US and the Indian army in Afghanistan and Kashmir".

"There are some other Indian-based American and other journalists who fall into the grey category," the source said. They also question the timing of the decision when Shaikh Omar's and 10 of his accomplices are facing trial in an anti-terrorism court.

Israel has good ties with India and has recently agreed to sell the Phalcon Radar system to New Delhi, which would enhance India's air defence capabilities vis-a vis Pakistan. Besides a long-term agreement on intelligence sharing, counter terrorism and defence sector.

It is against this background that the federal government has directed the provincial government to enhance the security for the arrested alleged killers of Daniel Pearl. In case Mossad carries out the directives against the suspected militants, Pakistan along with the US may have to suffer long-term retaliation.

According to Jane's, last time Tel Aviv gave similar orders in 1972, after the massacre of Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympic games.

The then Israeli premier, Golda Meir, called in the head of the Mossad, Zvi Zamir and ordered him to get all the Palestinians from "Black September", who were involved in the massacre and kill them all. It took Mossad agents six years, including one mistake, to complete the job, Janes added.

Israel To Avenge Pearl's death

From Jane's Defence Weekly

Israel's prime minister, Ariel Sharon, called in Ephraim Halevy, director of the foreign intelligence service - Mossad, last week and according to intelligence sources gave him a precise instruction to get the assassins of journalist Danny Pearl.

There is speculation he was executed on account of his religion rather than nationality and this may explain Sharonís orders to Mossad.

The last time that such an order was carried out by an Israeli government was in 1972, after the massacre of the Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympic games. It took Mossad six years and one mistake to complete the job.