Islamabad, Pakistan Pakistani officials said Tuesday that a man linked to the 2002 kidnap of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl had been arrested. Pearl was later beheaded in the southern Pakistan city of Karachi while he was researching a story on Islamic militancy in 2002.
Two paramilitary officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to reporters, told the Associated Press that Qari Abdul Hayee, a former leader of the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi militant group in southern Sindh province, was arrested on Sunday in the southern port city of Karachi.
Hayee also went by the name Asadullah and has been involved in other attacks in Karachi as well. CBS News Islamabad bureau chief Maria Usman says Hayee was among a group of about 25 people who were reportedly behind Pearl's kidnapping. He was never known to have been involved in his actual execution.
Suspected Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who is still being held at the U.S. military detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba,in statements made during a military hearing, according to the Pentagon.
Hayee has been picked up by Pakistani law enforcement before for various crimes, and wasn't believed to be in hiding at the time of his arrest, notes Usman.
A provincial minister in Karachi, who spoke to CBS News' Farhan Bokhari on condition of anonymity, said the evidence linking Hayee to the gruesome case of the American news reporter was "vague".
An intelligence officer in Karachi who, who also spoke to CBS News on Tuesday but asked not to be identified, said portraying Hayee as a "central figure" in the Pearl case "exaggerates his exact involvement."
Lashkar-e-Jhangvi is a radical Sunni Muslim militant group that has carried out many attacks in Pakistan, especially against minority Shiite Muslims.