In January 2002, the South Asia Bureau Chief of The Wall Street Journal, Daniel Pearl, was kidnapped in Pakistan while investigating Richard Reid’s (known as the "shoe bomber") alleged links to Al Qaeda. He was assassinated by his captors claiming to belong to the National Movement for the Restoration of Pakistani Sovereignty.

General Ijaz Ahmed Shah, then head of the Pakistani Intelligence Service and current Interior Minister, stated that the leader of this small group, Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, had confessed to committing the crime and was arrested at his house. The defendant was sentenced to death, but a second court commuted the sentence to life imprisonment.

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, whom the United States had abducted and sent to Guantanamo, claimed personal responsibility for the beheading of Daniel Pearl. For this, he was subjected to all kinds of torture - including 183 waterboarding sessions - and his two children aged 6 and 8 were also tortured. He accused himself of 31 different crimes, but was unable to shed any light on the circumstances surrounding them.

In his memoirs, former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, now in exile in the United Arab Emirates, affirmed that Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh was a British MI6 agent, while acting as a double agent for the Pakistani secret services (ISI). He further affirmed that the latter had participated in the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

On 2 April 2020, the Pakistani High Court reduced Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh’s penalty to 7 years. Having already spent 18 years in prison, it is probable he will be released soon.

A bright student at the London School of Economics, Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh practices martial arts, chess and speaks five languages. He was involved in the kidnapping of Californian tourists in India in 1994, allegedly as part of his fight for the independence of Kashmir. He was then imprisoned and released in 1999 in exchange for the hostages of Indian Airlines flight 814. According to the Washington Post, he was a Pakistani secret service agent who financed him during his detention in India. According to CNN, it was he who allegedly transferred $ 100,000 to Mohamed Atta who was accused by the FBI of having hijacked one of the planes on 11 September 2001, but whose name does not appear on the passenger manifest.