Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

WEB NEWS

Ukrainians turn Russian "evidence" into meme

Read more

FOCUS

Copenhagen seeks to decriminalise use of cannabis

Read more

FACE-OFF

French president's advisor resigns: A new blow for François Hollande

Read more

ENCORE!

Films as plays, plays as films and TV at the cinema

Read more

MIDDLE EAST MATTERS

Syria: Former hostages recount 10-month ordeal

Read more

TALKING EUROPE

José Bové, Candidate for the EU Commission presidency, Group of the Greens

Read more

TALKING EUROPE

Alexis Tsipras, Candidate for the EU Commission presidency, European Left Party

Read more

FOCUS

'Pope-mania' hits John Paul II's Polish hometown

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Fascist finger-pointing

Read more

  • Fatah, Hamas agree to form Palestinian unity government

    Read more

  • Turkish PM offers condolences to descendants of Armenians killed in 1915

    Read more

  • Russia vows to respond if 'attacked' in Ukraine

    Read more

  • Gay marriage, one year on: ‘French civilisation did not crumble’

    Read more

  • In pictures: Violent protests erupt in Rio

    Read more

  • NYPD public relations campaign on Twitter goes awry

    Read more

  • French hostage Gilberto Rodrigues Leal has died, Islamists say

    Read more

  • 'Pope-mania' hits John Paul II's Polish hometown

    Read more

  • French actress Catherine Deneuve to sell €4 million château

    Read more

  • Chelsea, Atletico draw 0-0 in first leg of Champions League semis

    Read more

  • Ukraine to relaunch offensive in the east after politican 'tortured'

    Read more

  • Echoes of 2pac and Biggie? French rap feud turns violent

    Read more

  • New French film tackles grisly anti-Semitic murder

    Read more

  • Photos link ‘little green men’ in Ukraine to Russian troops

    Read more

  • New anti-radicalisation plans aimed at fighting jihadism

    Read more

  • David Moyes sacked by Man United after just 10 months

    Read more

  • Hollande facing mounting pressure over Syrian refugees

    Read more

France

Karachi bombings linked with Daniel Pearl murder

©

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2012-06-27

An anti-terrorist judge in France has thrown weight behind claims that the murder of American journalist Daniel Pearl and the bombing of French engineers in Karachi both had their roots in murky arms deals with Pakistani officials.

In 2002, two brutal terrorist attacks targeting westerners in the Pakistani city of Karachi shocked the world.

In January that year, the American journalist Daniel Pearl was kidnapped before being beheaded in cold blood by his captors. A video was later released showing his execution.

Three months later, on May 8, a bomber targeted a bus carrying French naval engineers working for the majority state owned Direction of Naval Construction (DCN). The blast left 11 engineers dead.

Apart from being carried out in the same city, the two attacks appeared at first to have little in common.

On Monday, Judge Marc Trevidic, who is charged with investigating the bomb attack on the French engineers, met with the families of the 11 victims in Paris.

Trevidic told them of his latest findings,  which support a theory first put forward in a 2008 internal report by DCN titled ‘Nautilus’ that suggested both attacks were linked to a breakdown in arms deals with Pakistan.

“It was a rumour, now it has become a certainty” wrote French daily Le Parisien, which broke the story of Trevidic’s findings on Monday.

The implication of Pakistan’s secret services (ISI) in both cases is “no longer in doubt” added Le Parisien.

Speaking after the meeting, Sandrine Leclerc, whose father died in the Karachi attack, told reporters: “The parallel between the case of the murder of Daniel Pearl and that involving the deaths of our loved ones is obvious. They are linked to arms contracts.”

Oliver Morice, a lawyer for the victims’ families, said “the findings of the investigating Judge Trevidic have given very significant credibility to the ‘Nautilus’ report.”

Breach of arms deals

The killing of the French engineers, who were working on a submarine construction project, sparked outrage in France.

Pakistani police immediately placed the blame at the door of Islamic fundamentalists, but the radicals initially condemned to death for the attack were found not guilty on appeal.

Nevertheless, Jean-Louis Brugière, the French judge in charge of the case at the time, continued to pursue the line that Islamic radicals were to blame.

But when Trevidic took over the case in 2007, he began examining the theory that the bombing was linked to deals Pakistan made with France to purchase submarines.

Trevidic investigated whether the attack was revenge by Pakistani officials who were angry that then-president Jacques Chirac blocked the payment of kickbacks linked to the deal.

“We know that there may have been retaliatory operations related to the breaching of arms contracts. It is for the judge to now consolidate the findings of the ‘Nautilus’ report,” said the lawyer Morice.

The “Karachi affair,” as it has been named in France, has even ensnared members of the French ruling class with investigators looking into allegations that kickbacks from the arms sales to Pakistan helped fund the failed 1995 presidential primary campaign of Edouard Balladur.

Balladur’s campaign spokesperson at the time was none other than recently-departed president Nicolas Sarkozy.

Parallel with Pearl’s murder

The murder of Daniel Pearl, just three months before the bus bombing, was also initially attributed to Islamic fundamentalists linked to al Qaeda.

But one of the demands made by his kidnappers after his abduction also pointed to a possible ulterior motive.

In two emails sent just after his kidnapping, his captors listed a number of conditions for the release of their hostage, one of which was for the United States to deliver the F-16 fighter jets that Pakistan had paid for but never received due to a diplomatic wrangle.

During his trip to the United States in February, Trevidic requested access to past hearings of Sheikh Omar, the British-born militant of Pakistani descent who was considered to be the mastermind behind Pearl’s murder and is currently in prison in Pakistan.

The evidence subsequently confirmed the emails' authenticity.

“The two authenticated emails indicate that it was not al Qaeda behind the kidnapping, but Pakistani nationals, because of the F-16 deal,” Marie Dose, lawyer for the families told AFP news agency.

However, some give little credence to the view that both cases are linked to a breach in arms contracts, including Sarkozy, who labelled the allegations a “grotesque fairy tale”.

The doubters argue the seven-year time difference between Chirac’s decision to stop the payment of kickbacks and the bomb blast were too great for them to be linked.

“From now on, Marc Trevidic can quite easily dismiss this argument,” argued Le Parisien.

 

Date created : 2012-06-26

  • FRANCE

    Sarkozy's best man charged in 'Karachigate'

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    Sarkozy allies under scrutiny over Karachi kickbacks

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    Doubt cast on link between French bribes and Karachi bombing

    Read more

Comments

COMMENT(S)