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Last Updated:  Wednesday, 2 April, 2003, 10:15 GMT 11:15 UK
Pakistan arrests militant suspect
Police in Pakistan have arrested a suspected member of an outlawed Sunni sectarian group, blamed for planning attacks on minority groups.

Debris after the suicide bomb attack in Karachi
Lashkar-e-Jhangvi have been blamed for attacks in Karachi
Shabir Ahmed was detained in the central district of Multan on suspicion of being part of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, a group linked to the killings of Shia Muslims and Christians.

Lashkar-e-Jhangvi has also been connected with Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda network in Afghanistan.

Ahmed was wanted in four cases of killing minority Shia Muslims and had a reward of one million rupees ($17,200) on his head.


Police superintendent in Multan, Malik Hussain, said Lashkar-e-Jhangvi was one of Pakistan's most feared militant groups.

"We can breathe a sigh of relief after his arrest. The biggest threat to us was from this man," he told Reuters news agency.

Sunni Muslim Lashkar-e-Jhangvi had close ties with the Taleban administration in Afghanistan and fought against the opposition Northern Alliance forces.

The group is particularly linked to two attacks on western targets in Karachi last year: The car bomb in Karachi which killed 14 people, including 11 French engineers, and the murder of US reporter, Daniel Pearl.

Lashkar-e-Jhangvi was outlawed along with a related Sunni group, Sipah-e-Sahaba, in a crackdown on terrorism.

Most of Pakistan's 140 million are Sunni Muslims and live in peace with the minority Shia community but a small number of people from each community have been blamed for violent attacks against each other.

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