Pakistan arrests suspect in murder of US journalist Pearl

Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl was beheaded in 2002

Pakistan has arrested a former militant leader in connection with the 2002 murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, security officials have said.

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, according to the officials.

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

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

It was not clear what role Mr 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 Shias this year.

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

A Pakistani court sentenced British-born militant Omar Sheikh to death for killing Mr Pearl.