Even a day after main suspect Sheikh Omar Saeed's arrest, Pakistan police failed to trace the whereabouts of kidnapped American journalist Daniel Pearl, sparking off speculation that the kingpin of the abduction could be someone of a rank higher than Omar.
Daniel Pearl disappeared on January 23 while collecting information for a story on the crackdown on Islamic militants in Pakistan.
Sheikh Omar is one of the militants released by the government in exchange for the passengers of Indian Airlines Flight IC 814, which was hijacked to Kandahar.
British-born Omar has been subjected to sustained interrogation since being brought to Karachi (in Sindh province) after his arrest in Lahore (in Punjab province) on Tuesday.
Security officials in Karachi on Wednesday said that Sheikh had failed to provide any substantial clue about the Wall Street Journal reporter.
Pakistani police on Wednesday interrogated Sheikh for over five hours during the course of which he confessed to having kidnapped Pearl.
The British-born Sheikh Omar was arrested on Tuesday from a house in the eastern Lahore.
Police officials said Sheikh believed that Pearl was still alive and his captors had no intention of killing their hostage as the main purpose of the abduction was to attract world attention towards the alleged inhuman treatment being meted out to Taliban and Al Qaeda prisoners by the United States forces, a report in Pakistan's The News daily said.
It also quoted police officials in Lahore saying that Sheikh's surrender was a swap. "He surrendered after his immediate relatives who had been detained were released."
After his surrender in Lahore, Omar was taken to Karachi where he is being interrogated by Pakistan and FBI investigators.
Details emerging from the interrogation revealed that Omar used various aliases such as Chaudhry Bashir and Imtiaz Siddiqi to lure Daniel Pearl into his trap through a vast network of fake e-mail addresses and cell phone connections.
Before Pearl's abduction, Sheikh was accompanied by at least three other individuals who apparently were overseeing the whole operation.
They were later identified as police intelligence official Adil, Fahad Nasim and Salman, who after their capture provided graphic accounts of their meetings with Pearl and emphasised that Sheikh was not acting on his own and that the real organisers of the abduction were somewhere else, it said.
Omar is also connected to the Al-Faran militant outfit, which was blamed for the kidnapping and killing of five foreign tourists in Kashmir in 1995.
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