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Back home, Pakistan face the heat

With no fresh developments in Woolmer's case coming in, media are playing the waiting game, reports Atreyo Mukhopadhyay.
None | By Atreyo Mukhopadhyay, Kingston
UPDATED ON MAR 28, 2007 01:34 AM IST

The latest instance of murder in a city, known for its high crime rate, has forced the police into a waiting game, apart from causing a sharp change in the profile of newsmen chasing mystery, in what was supposed to be a time to celebrate cricket in a part of the world famous for its unique ways of appreciating the game.

Cricket has left Kingston for the moment, letting Sabina Park prepare for the first semifinal slated for April 24 and, in an informal understanding between the police, media and hotel authorities, the Pegasus has become the place to be in. It might mean an endless wait with nobody confirming or ruling out a briefing on any developments in Woolmer murder investigations, but the media is playing a waiting game.

For over nine days now, the ninth World Cup has become news of the world for a gory reason and, after confirming apprehensions last Thursday that the Pakistan coach was strangled to death, the police has not had any progress.

It was no different on Monday evening, when Deputy Commissioner Mark Shields told reporters there was no development worth mentioning. The listeners threw several questions without getting a new answer. “We are going through each frame captured by the close-circuit cameras on the 12th floor to ascertain who were there between the time under consideration. Bob’s computer is with us and we are trying to see what was stored in the hard disk. We are also in touch with the South African police, the Scotland Yard and the ICC,” Shields said.

An overwhelming majority of newshounds, who have been repeatedly accused by Shields of speculating aimlessly, is from England. Almost all the broadsheets and tabloids have sent specialists in news or crime, while their cricket correspondents have either returned or gone to follow England’s Super Eight journey. Sky TV is here with arrangements of going live, while the BBC correspondents have also flocked in, though all from Pakistan have left.

“The coverage this (episode) is getting is huge. It’s probably No 3 at the moment, after being No 1 for a few days last week,” said a correspondent of the BBC’s South Asia Service. Back in Kingston, with no announcement on when Woolmer’s body would be sent to South Africa, reporters said the success rate of the local police was discouraging. “Hardly 10 per cent of murder cases in recent years have been solved,” said a crime reporter of Jamaican Observer. Curiously, the previous case of homicide at Pegasus, in December 2005, is yet to be resolved.

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