ISLAMABAD, March 19 (UPI) –
A suspect in the gruesome 2002 beheading of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl has been arrested, Pakistani officials said.
A senior Pakistani official said authorities believe Qari Abdul Hayee facilitated Pearl’s kidnapping, CNN reported Tuesday.
Hayee was arrested Sunday in a paramilitary operation targeting militants in Karachi, the official said. A number of weapons also were recovered.
Pearl was kidnapped while researching a story about Pakistani militants. He was later beheaded and a video of his slaying was sent to U.S. officials. The video also showed the journalist talking of his Jewish heritage and propagandizing, apparently under duress.
On the video, the group claiming responsibility for his abduction — the National Movement for the Restoration of Pakistan’s Sovereignty — demanded the release of Pakistanis held at the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and an end to U.S. presence in Pakistan. The group also demanded delivery of F-16 fighter jets Pakistan bought from the United States but never received.
Several other suspects have been arrested in Pearl’s kidnapping and death. British-born Islamic militant Ahmad Omar Saeed Sheik was sentenced to death and three accomplices received life-in-prison sentences.
In 2003, Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the suspected mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States, was arrested in Pakistan and confessed to killing Pearl. A report by Georgetown University students and faculty and the Center for Public Integrity indicated U.S. officials decided against filing charges in the Pearl case to avoid causing difficulties in prosecuting Mohammed for the attacks.