Pakistan arrested a suspect in connection with the 2002 kidnapping and brutal murder of Daniel Pearl, a journalist for The Wall Street Journal.
The paramilitary unit Pakistani Rangers captured Qari Abdul Hayee in Karachi, Pakistan’s largest city, on Sunday. CNN cited a senior Pakistani official as saying that Hayee is suspected of having facilitated Pearl’s kidnapping on January 23, 2002, in Karachi.
On February 1 of that year, Pearl was beheaded by terrorists, who forced him to “confess” his background. “My father’s Jewish, my mother’s Jewish, I’m Jewish,” Pearl said in footage filmed moments before his murder. “My family follows Judaism. We’ve made numerous family visits to Israel.”
In March 2007, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, an al-Qaeda terrorist who took credit for orchestrating the attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, confessed to personally beheading Pearl. He is currently in US custody at Guantanamo Bay, but has not been charged in connection with Pearl’s abduction or murder.
In July 2002, a British-born Islamist militant, Ahmad Omar Saeed Sheikh, was sentenced to death by a Pakistani anti-terrorism court for his role in Pearl’s death. He is currently in prison in Pakistan, having appealed his conviction.
Pakistani officials said on Monday that they do not believe Hayee carried out the actual murder, but that he was “privy to the whole situation” and connected to the National Movement for the Restoration of Pakistani Sovereignty, the terrorist group that kidnapped Pearl.
At the time of his murder, Pearl was based in Mumbai, India, as The Wall Street Journal’s South Asia bureau chief. He was in Karachi to investigate a story about the connection between the “shoe bomber” Richard Reid and al-Qaeda.