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February 9, 2002
1945 IST

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Indian agencies behind Pearl's abduction: Musharraf

T V Parasuram in Washington

Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf on Saturday blamed India for the kidnapping of American journalist Daniel Pearl charging that Indian intelligence agencies may have had a hand in the abduction.

In his first extensive comments on the abduction of Pearl, now missing for 18 days, Musharraf in an interview to the Washington Post suggested that Pearl, who disappeared in Karachi on January 23, may have been a pawn in the hands of Indian intelligence agencies.

Musharraf in the interview in Islamabad before leaving for the US on an official visit said: "It's (abduction) very much a possibility that it has been done by the Indians, orchestrated by the Indians. That's what we are looking into."

Musharraf offered no new information to support his statements, but said "indirect indications" suggested Sheikh Omar Saeed, the prime suspect in the kidnapping of Pearl and the leader of the Pak-backed Jaish e-Mohammad, could have been acting in concert with India

India has dismissed similar allegations of complicity in the Pearl's case coming from Foreign Minister Abdul Sattar.

PTI

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