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Thursday, 31 October, 2002, 11:39 GMT
Pakistan arrests bomb suspect
Bomb disposal squad examines explosives at suspected militant hideout
Police say they found a cache of bombs last Friday
Pakistani police have arrested a suspected follower of an outlawed militant Islamic group in connection with a series of parcel bomb attacks earlier this month, officials say.


We have arrested a key person involved in the parcel bomb blasts

Karachi police official
Asif Shadman, said to belong to the banned Lashkar-e-Jhangvi group, is suspected of involvement in the attacks, which targeted police and other government employees.

A total of 10 parcel bombs were sent to officials in Karachi on 16 and 17 October.

Three of them exploded, injuring nine people, while the others were defused.

'Breakthrough'

"I don't have many details, but we have arrested a key person involved in the parcel bomb blasts," a police official said.

Another unnamed official described it as a "breakthrough".

Mr Shadman is alleged to be a close aide of Asif Ramzi, leader of the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi group, who in a letter sent to newspaper offices claimed responsibility for the mid-October blasts.

An injured policeman seeks help after the explosion
Nine people were injured in the parcel bomb blasts
The officials believe Mr Shadman's arrest, could lead to resolving several other outstanding cases.

Mr Ramzi is also suspected of being behind several other deadly blasts in Pakistan, including some on Western targets.

Earlier this year there were two suicide bomb attacks in Karachi, both aimed at foreigners.

One occurred outside the US consulate, which killed 12 Pakistanis, and the other killed 14 people, most of them French nationals.

The parcel bombs appeared to be aimed at the Pakistani establishment, officials say.

Muslim hardliners are unhappy with Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf's support for America's war on terrorism.

Musharraf's Pakistan

Democracy challenge

Militant threat

Background

TALKING POINT

FROM THE ARCHIVES

BBC WORLD SERVICE
See also:

14 Sep 02 | South Asia
14 Sep 02 | South Asia
16 Oct 02 | South Asia
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