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February 5, 2002
1849 IST

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Prime suspects named in Pearl abduction, 6 arrested

Pakistan police named two prime suspects in the abduction of US journalist Daniel Pearl, even as six people were arrested in overnight raids in Lahore and Karachi.

An agency report quoting an unnamed senior police official identified the two prime suspects as Mohammad Hashim Qadeer and Mohammad Bashir.

"We will only come to know the extent of their involvement once they are arrested. We hope to catch them," he was quoted as saying.

The six people arrested are also expected to provide vital clues to the whereabouts of the abducted The Wall Street Journal scribe and the identity of the kidnappers, a police spokesman said.

Investigating agencies were also tracing mobile phone calls, he said.

Pakistan Interior Minister Moinuddin Haider has said he believes that someone whom Pearl met took him hostage.

"Whatever be the objective, those behind it have not done any service to Pakistan or Islam," Haider said.

Pearl, 38, disappeared on January 23 from Karachi. Little known National Movement for the Restoration of Pakistani Sovereignty claimed responsibility and sent a series of emails with photos of Pearl in captivity.

Related Report:
Pearl case: Pak denies extradition report

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