Brother dragonchild's example is a good one.
It's not really a question of needing them, but that they are another tool available which let you approach problems in different ways. Sometimes a pointerish solution - like dragonchild's - would be easier to understand, just like sometimes an OO solution is easier, or a functional solution is easier.
I do take the point that with pointers comes danger. It could probably be mitigated because perl knows more about the underlying data structures that you would be pointing at than C does - for instance, if you increment a pointer beyond the end of a string, perl can know that you've done that and so could automagically extend the string.
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