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Chris Burns: Extradition issues in Pakistan

Chris Burns  

The United States is pushing Pakistan to extradite the prime suspect in the killing of American reporter Daniel Pearl. CNN's Chris Burns is in Karachi, and Wednesday morning he spoke to CNN anchor Carol Costello.

BURNS: Well, the latest word here, there was a telephone threat against authorities here who are investigating the kidnap-slaying of Daniel Pearl. The caller, claiming to be part of the same group that claimed responsibility for the kidnapping of Daniel Pearl, said [the group] wanted those extradition proceedings efforts to stop and if not, then they will either bomb or rocket an office belonging to Pakistani investigators.

This, of course, comes a day after a key meeting in Islamabad between President Pervez Musharraf and the U.S. ambassador, Wendy Chamberlin, where they did discuss extradition efforts. Chamberlin walked out after the meeting saying that she was "not disappointed" by what Mr. Musharraf said.

And, according to The New York Times, Musharraf agreed, in principle, to eventually extradite the key suspect, that being Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, the man who has admitted that he was very much behind that January 23 kidnapping of Daniel Pearl, the American journalist.

However, we must caution that this extradition may not come very soon ... that, according to our sources, the intent is for the investigation to continue. They do, and very much would like to find the body of Daniel Pearl, the murder weapon and more suspects to build their case. In the meantime, they would like that Saeed Sheikh remain in Pakistan during that period, perhaps even through a trial, after which he may be extradited to the United States.

Another sort of footnote here, very important to keep track of, is that Saeed Sheikh may have dual nationality. He is British born, may also be Pakistani. And that may also enter into the equation. If he is only British, that could mean that... he may have to be extradited to Britain. However, it does appear that he probably does have Pakistani nationality, which would mean he is mainly subject to Pakistani law and legal procedures.

COSTELLO: Any way you look at it, this is not going to be an easy task. You know, one more thing I wanted to ask you about. You interviewed Mariane Pearl yesterday. What strikes me is she's so incredibly strong. Where is she drawing that strength from?

BURNS: Really incredible. She is a journalist herself. Probably to be the wife of a journalist who does this sort of reporting, travels around, has to be strong to do that, to cope with that kind of life. And the fact that she wants to go on and sort of carry the torch, bringing the message that not only do militants have to be addressed, the problem of militant activity, but also the symptom, the causes of that, which are much broader and much deeper, such as poverty, such as lack of education. Those things also need to be addressed.

So she's going to be very busy in the future, she says, in doing that, as well as raising her child. She's seven months pregnant.

COSTELLO: Yes. She's going to have a baby boy, right?

BURNS: That's right.




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