Pakistan arrests suspect in Daniel Pearl case
Los Angeles Times
ISLAMABAD — A man arrested in Karachi on suspicion of helping in the 2002 kidnapping of American journalist Daniel Pearl once led the militant group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi’s operations in Sindh province, authorities said.
Authorities believe Qari Abdul Hayee, who was arrested this week in a police raid, was one of the Sunni militant group’s facilitators in Pearl’s abduction, Pakistani media reported. Pearl, 38, a reporter for The Wall Street Journal, was kidnapped in January 2002 in Karachi and beheaded by his captors a month later.
Hayee was one of the guards assigned to watch Pearl as he was held hostage, according to a 2011 report by the Center for Public Integrity.
Hayee lived in the same Gulshan Iqbal neighborhood of Karachi as many of the other alleged culprits in the Pearl case, according to the report.
“Standing only about 4 feet, 11 inches tall, he had a short, thick beard and a noticeable mark on his forehead,” the report said. “Hayee was one of 10 children born to a poor couple in Karachi, and grew up in his family village of Alipur in Punjab (province), where he memorized the Koran at a madrassa,” or Islamic school.
Hayee was arrested Sunday by police searching for members of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi in Karachi’s University Road area. In addition to the Pearl case, he was being questioned about a car bombing in a Shiite neighborhood in Karachi on March 3 that killed more than 45 people and injured at least 146 others.
Police recently have been combing through Karachi neighborhoods in search of members of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, which is suspected of being responsible for a series of suicide bombings and other terrorist attacks on Pakistan’s minority Shiite Muslim community in Quetta and Karachi.
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the man who confessed to killing Pearl and the self-professed al-Qaida mastermind behind the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the U.S., is being detained at the U.S. military base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, awaiting trial on murder and terrorism charges.
Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, who was sentenced to death in July 2002 in Pakistan for helping lure Pearl to a meeting that led to his kidnapping, is in prison in Pakistan.
Pearl’s parents, Ruth and Judea Pearl, issued a statement through the Daniel Pearl Foundation.
“We are gratified by this latest arrest and hope that justice will be served on all of those who were involved in this crime against humanity,” they said.
Los Angeles Times staff writer Kate Mather in Los Angeles contributed to this report.