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February 26, 2002
2026 IST

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Pak hints at extraditing Sheikh Omar

Pakistan on Tuesday indicated that it might extradite Sheikh Omar, prime suspect in the kidnap and murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, to the United States.

Pakistan would like to arrest and try all those involved in the crime in its own courts but if a situation arises where these criminals have to be handed over to the US, Islamabad can consider it in the light of evidence, Foreign Minister Abdul Sattar said in an interview to Pakistan Observer.

"Once the culprits are identified and arrested, Pakistan will award a deterrent punishment to them," he added.

Sattar said Pearl's murder has not changed Pakistan's determination to combat terrorism.

He denied that the incident was a manifestation of the severe reaction to President Pervez Musharraf's decision to ban militants and extremists and align with the US in its fight against terrorism.

Earlier, CNN had reported that Washington and Islamabad were involved in hectic negotiations on the issue.

Pakistani embassy official in Washington Asad Hayauddin also said the two countries were engaged in discussions on the issue.

White House spokesman Ari Fleischer had said on Monday that American and Pakistani officials were working closely to try to bring the suspects in the case to the US.

Securing Omar's handover is a delicate issue, as Washington does not have an extradition treaty with Islamabad.

Fleischer, however, referred to a treaty that the US had signed with the British in 1931, when the Indian subcontinent was part of the British Empire.

PTI

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