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Sunday, 4 November, 2001, 20:31 GMT
Two held in Pakistan anthrax case
Police take Mohammad Yousaf, middle, and Mohammed Salim, right, for questioning
The two men are led away for questioning
Police in Pakistan have detained two men in connection with a letter suspected of containing anthrax spores sent to the country's largest newspaper.

Mohammed Salim, a businessman who was detained in Karachi, is accused of putting powder into an envelope along with a news release sent to the Daily Jang newspaper last week.

He was taken into custody after police detained the head of an educational charity whose letter-head was on the release on Saturday.

Pakistani police say they are still examining under which law anthrax cases can be prosecuted.

The editorial offices of the Daily Jang - Pakistan's biggest circulation newspaper - reopened on Saturday after being decontaminated following the discovery of the letter last month.

More tests

None of the newspaper's staff were found to have been exposed to the bacteria.

Pakistan's leading hospital, which confirmed the letter as testing positive for anthrax, said the letter would be sent abroad for further tests.

A postal worker in Karachi scans mail for contamination
There have also been alerts at the US embassy and UK High Commission in Islamabad
The newspaper's editor, Mehmood Sham, said he had no idea why his publication had been targeted.

He said that although the paper supported the government's stand on terrorism, it had also given "vast coverage" to parties opposing the government's position.

The Pakistani Government acted quickly to calm public fears, saying it had set up a special cell in the Interior Ministry to deal with any potential threat.

It said it had enough antibiotics to cope with an outbreak.

The BBC's Jill McGivering in Islamabad
"There's a lingering fear there could be more to come"
The BBC's Susannah Price in Islamabad
"Some security measures are now in place"
Prof Aata-Ur Rehman, Pakistani science minister
"There's no reason to panic"
See also:

30 Oct 01 | Americas
Q&A: The anthrax mystery
02 Nov 01 | Health
Warning over anthrax antibiotics
02 Nov 01 | South Asia
Pakistan's establishment newspaper
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