The fugitive who set up the initial meeting between Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl and his kidnappers was arrested Wednesday in a bus terminal, officials said.
Pearl was abducted Jan. 23, 2002, and later beheaded in the southern city of Karachi — believed to be a hotbed for Islamic militants — while he was researching a story.
Hashim Qadeer, listed among Pakistan’s most wanted men in 2003, was captured in the eastern city of Gujranwala after being under police surveillance for three days, according to officials who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Qadeer said he was headed to Rawalpindi, where he planned to take another bus to Pakistan’s portion of the divided Himalayan region of Kashmir, one police official in Lahore said.
Judge Azmatullah Awan granted police permission to hold Qadeer without a charge for two days to question him, according to a second police official in Lahore.
Qadeer is believed to have arranged a meeting between Ahmed Omar Sheikh and Pearl at a hotel in Rawalpindi, a city near the capital Islamabad, a Karachi-based intelligence official said.
The police officials and the intelligence official spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to make statements to the media.
A Karachi court has convicted four Islamic militants in Pearl’s killing. Among them was Sheikh, who was sentenced to death. Three others were sentenced to life terms. All have appealed.
Two other militants wanted in Pearl’s case were killed in shootouts with security forces last year. Five suspects remain at large.