March 19 – Pakistani security forces arrested a suspect in the murder of U.S. journalist Daniel Pearl in the port city of Karachi, according to a military official with knowledge of the detention.
Qari Abdul Hayee, a former leader of a Sunni sectarian group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, was aware of the plan to kidnap Pearl, the Wall Street Journal’s South Asia bureau chief, who was later decapitated, said the official who asked not to be identified as he’s not authorized to speak on the matter.
Hayee was LeJ head in Sindh province at the time of Pearl’s killing in 2002 and is wanted for his alleged involvement in deadly attacks on the country’s Shiite minority, the official said. A video of Pearl’s decapitation was sent to the U.S. consulate in Karachi in the same year.
The U.S. State Department in 2003 listed LeJ as a terrorist group, saying it had links to al-Qaeda and was involved in the murder of Pearl.
Pakistan’s former Interior Minister Rehman Malik said last month that the group was responsible for 80 percent of terrorist activity in the country after a surge in attacks on Shiites, Geo television reported.
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, mastermind of the Sept. 11 terror attacks, imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, carried out the killing. Mohammed, identified by the 9/11 Commission report as “principal architect” of the 2001 strikes, told a U.S. military hearing at Guantanamo Bay on March 10, 2007, he had personally slit Pearl’s throat and beheaded him.
U.K.-born Islamic militant Ahmed Omar Sheikh was sentenced to death in July 2002 for murdering the journalist and being the lead planner in his capture. He’s still in prison.
Three of his collaborators received life sentences for assisting in the kidnapping and ransom requests.
The widow of the slain journalist, Mariane Pearl, sued 23 individuals, including Mohammed, in July 2007 for their alleged role in the abduction, torture and murder.