ISLAMABAD (AP) – Police officials said Saturday they had arrested a member of an outlawed, Al Qaeda-linked group that was suspected of involvement in the 2002 beheading of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl.
Rao Shakir, a purported member of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, was arrested on the outskirts of Islamabad late Friday, a police official said.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information.
Lashkar-e-Jhangvi is a banned Sunni Muslim militant group linked to both the Taliban and Al Qaeda and has been blamed for killing scores of minority Shiites across Pakistan. Its members have been accused of attacks against Westerners in Karachi, including Pearl’s killing and the September 2008 truck bombing of the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad. The group is also believed responsible for two failed assassination attempts against Pakistan’s former military ruler, Pervez Musharraf, as well as for several suicide bombings, including one that targeted a bus of Pakistan’s premier spy agency, the ISI.
Another investigator, who also spoke on condition of anonymity for the same reason, said police were questioning Shakir over five bombings. He said authorities believe he is also responsible for facilitating other terrorist attacks and that he provided safe houses for militants.
Pearl was abducted from Karachi in 2002 while researching a story on Islamic militancy. His remains were later found in a shallow grave on eastern outskirts of the city.