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February 7, 2002
2010 IST

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Pakistan claims progress in Pearl case

K J M Varma in Islamabad

Pakistan on Thursday claimed that there was "progress" in the case relating to the abduction of American journalist Daniel Pearl, even as the police arrested another activist of the banned Jaish-e-Mohammed outfit and conducted nationwide raids to locate prime suspect Sheikh Omar Saeed.

"All efforts are being made to solve this abduction (case). No effort is being spared to come to a quick conclusion. We can say there is progress," defence spokesman Major General Rashid Qureshi told reporters.

Qureshi refused to give any details relating to the case saying it could harm the investigations. The Wall Street Journal scribe has been missing since January 23.

Meanwhile, the police arrested an Arab national, who was also a JeM activist in Rawalpindi, in connection with the abduction, a Pakistani daily, The News, said.

A team of local police and Federal Bureau of Investigation officials were interrogating the Arab, Hannan Ahmed, the daily said.

The police also conducted nationwide raids to locate Saeed, a prime suspect and one of the terrorists released by India in exchange for the passengers of Indian Airlines IC 184, which was hijacked to Kandahar in December 1999.

On Wednesday, the police raided Saeed's house in Lahore, as they believed that he was present there on the night before. While the raids drew a blank, they briefly detained two women in the house for questioning and later released them, another daily, the Dawn, reported.

It quoted a senior police official as saying that Saeed's arrest may help locate Pearl.

"We are very close to concluding the case. In a day or two you will have the final episode of the high profile crime," the official said.

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(c) Copyright 2001 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.

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