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Qari Abdul Hai Arrested: Pakistan Detains Suspect In Murder Of Wall Street Journal Reporter Daniel Pearl

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Qari Abdul Hai, with his head covered, leaves a Multan jail for an appearance in court in Multan, Pakistan, on Monday, June 2, 2003. Hai, an Islamic militant, was suspected of helping plan the kidnapping of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl. (AP Photo/Khalid Tanveer)
Qari Abdul Hai, with his head covered, leaves a Multan jail for an appearance in court in Multan, Pakistan, on Monday, June 2, 2003. Hai, an Islamic militant, was suspected of helping plan the kidnapping of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl. (AP Photo/Khalid Tanveer)


ISLAMABAD, March 19 (Reuters) - Pakistan has arrested a former militant leader in connection with the 2002 murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, security officials said on Monday.

Qari Abdul Hai, once a leader of the outlawed Sunni militant group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), was arrested on Sunday during a security crackdown in Pakistan's biggest city, Karachi, said the officials.

Pearl, an American, was kidnapped in Karachi while researching a story on Islamist militants in the months after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the al Qaeda militant who claimed responsibility for the Sept. 11 attacks, said he beheaded Pearl after his abduction.

It was not clear what role Hai was suspected of playing in the abduction and murder.

The LeJ has emerged as a major security threat in Pakistan. It has claimed responsibility for a series of bombings that killed hundreds of Shi'ites this year.

Security officials said Hai was linked to several attacks on Western targets since Pearl's death.

A Pakistani court sentenced British-born militant Omar Sheikh to death for killing Pearl. (Reporting by Mehreen Zahra-Malik; Editing by Robert Birsel)

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