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February 7, 2002
0100 IST

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JeM denies link to abduction of Pearl

The Jaish-e-Mohammed on Wednesday denied that it had anything to do with the abduction of Wall Street Journal scribe Daniel Pearl.

"We have no link with the abduction of the US reporter or with the people allegedly arrested by the (Pakistan) police in this connection," spokesman Rana Farooq Tahir told a news agency.

Pakistani authorities on Wednesday named Sheikh Omar, one of the terrorists who was released by India in exchange for the passengers of the Indian Airlines flight that was hijacked in 1999, as a chief suspect in Pearl's abduction and said he was a leader of the Jaish.

The journalist disappeared a fortnight ago in the southern Pakistani city of Karachi after heading off to meet an Islamic leader.

Sources involved in the police investigation said three men arrested in Karachi had identified Omar as the source of emails containing photographs of Pearl in captivity.

But Tahir denied that Omar was connected to the group, and said they did not believe in "inhuman" activities such as abductions.

"We don't have any activities in Pakistan. We are confined to Pakistan-occupied Kashmir....," he said.

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