Daniel Pearl Foundation taps 2 journalists for fellowships

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LOS ANGELES (CNS) – The Daniel Pearl Foundation, named for the Wall Street Journal reporter killed in 2002 by terrorists in Pakistan, announced today the selection of two journalists from South Asia to start training in the Washington, D.C., bureaus of two news agencies.

Khalid Khattak, who works at The News in Lahore, Pakistan, and Emran Hossain from Dhaka, Bangladesh, who works for bdnews24.com, will continue his career in digital news with a stint at the Huffington Post, the foundation announced.

The fellowships are for 5 1/2 months, and they will spend a week at the Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles. They plan to share their experiences at a free talk hosted by the Los Angeles Press Club Aug. 22 at the Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood.

Narda Zacchino,  Executive Director of the Daniel Pearl Foundation spoke with Maggie McKay and Michael Shappee about the foundation: 

Pearl, who grew up in Encino and went to Birmingham High School, was 38 when he was kidnapped while in Karachi working on a story about a link between failed shoe-bomber Richard Reid and al-Qaida. He was called a spy and videotaped as he was beheaded.

“We welcome these fellows and are inspired and gratified by the courage and accomplishments of our former recipients, who are making a difference in our world,” said Pearl’s mother, Ruth.

On Sunday, Pakistani authorities in Karachi arrested one of a number of suspects in Pearl’s murder. British-born Qari Abdul Hayee, also known as Asadullah, is a reputed leader of the anti-Shiite terrorist group Laskar-e- Jhangvi.

Hayee is not believed to have personally killed Pearl, but to have been among a group of 25 or more behind his kidnapping, according to published reports.

In July 2002, Pakistani authorities arrested Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh and three other suspects, and Sheikh was ultimately sentenced to death.

U.S. prisoner and al-Qaida suspect Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who’s being held in a military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, claimed in 2007 to have personally beheaded Pearl. Despite the claim, he has not been charged with Pearl’s murder.

The al-Qaida operative, Saif al-Adel, has also been linked to the killing.

Since the fellowship program was begun, the foundation has brought to the United States 18 mid-career journalists from South Asia and the Middle East, areas Pearl covered as a reporter. Fellows have come from Pakistan, Egypt, Nepal, Turkey, Malaysia, Yemen, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.

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