BRUSSELS, Belgium – Journalists stood for a moment of silence Friday to honor slain Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, and France's president conveyed his sorrow to Pearl's wife as governments expressed horror over the killing.
In Pakistan, where Pearl was abducted and slain, journalists and politicians demanded the government hunt down his killers and expressed concern that Islamic militant groups would conduct further violence.
Some 150 journalists at the daily press briefing of the European Union's executive commission stood in silence to commemorate Pearl.
The European Union on Friday condemned Pearl's killing as a "barbaric murder."
"I am shocked and deeply saddened," Javier Solana, the EU's foreign and security policy chief, said in a statement. "Those who have perpetrated this barbaric murder have further damaged the cause they claim to promote."
The International Federation of Journalists, a global journalists' group, called the killing "horrifying and cruel."
"Daniel Pearl was not representing his government or any political movement. He was a hard-working reporter, pure and simple, who was engaged in normal professional duties," IFJ President Christopher Warren said.
The Paris-based media advocacy group, Reporters Without Borders, said, "The madness that uses a journalist as scapegoat for his government's policy is the most serious threat in the world to the right to inform."
Pearl, the Journal's South Asian bureau chief, disappeared Jan. 23 in the Pakistani city of Karachi while reporting on Islamic militants. On Thursday, Pakistani authorities said the U.S. Embassy had received a videotape confirming his slaying. The State Department confirmed Pearl's death.
French President Jacques Chirac expressed his "great sadness" in a letter to Pearl's wife, Mariane, a French citizen, who is seven months pregnant with their first child.
"I was horrified by this assassination, which is the result of the most savage and cruel terrorism," he wrote.
The German government said it was "deeply dismayed" at the killing.
In India, where Pearl was based, External Affairs spokeswoman Nirupama Rao said the slaying draws "attention to the criminal forces of terror that continue to operate in Pakistani territory," and she called on Pakistan — India's longtime rival — to "root out such terrorist groups."
Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf ordered his security forces to hunt down everyone involved in Pearl's abduction. The Foreign Ministry said Pakistanis are "deeply saddened by the brutal murder."
"Such thing never occurred here. We strongly condemn it ... We demand the government to arrest the culprits and give them exemplary punishment," I.H. Rashid, head of the Pakistani journalists' union, said.
"Pearl's kidnapping and murder could be a sign of the worse to come," said Farhatullah Babar, a spokesman for the former ruling Pakistan Peoples' Party. Militants in Afghanistan and perhaps, even Kashmir, are now returning to Pakistan and could be "regrouping and reorganizing their activities," he said.
Pakistan's military-led government, a key ally of the United States in the war on terrorism, has banned several extremist Islamic groups to defuse tensions with India and pacify international concerns about the menace of terrorism.