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Last Updated: Monday, 23 June, 2003, 16:47 GMT 17:47 UK
Pakistan arrests five 'militants'
Police present two of the five suspects, in hoods, to the media
The men were planning attacks on foreigners, police say
Police in Pakistan's Punjab Province have arrested five alleged members of the banned Islamic militant group, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi.

The suspects were rounded up during raids in the city of Multan during the past week.

Lashkar-e-Jhangvi is a hardline Sunni organisation which has been blamed for numerous sectarian attacks on minority Shia Muslims in Pakistan.

It was designated a terrorist organisation in January by the United States, which says it has close links with Osama Bin Laden's al-Qaeda network.

Officials in Washington say the group was involved in the 2002 kidnapping and subsequent murder in Karachi of US journalist Daniel Pearl.

'Top terrorist'

US journalist Daniel Pearl
US officials suspect group is linked to Pearl murder
Police have named one of those detained as Shahabuddin, who is alleged to be a former provincial leader of the group.

"He was among the top five terrorists of Pakistan and the most wanted man of Lashkar," Multan's police chief, Deputy Inspector General Iftikhar Chaudhri, told a news conference.

"He was wanted for several attacks on Shias and killings of policemen."

Police say another of those detained, Abdul Majeed Bilal, is wanted for questioning in four murder cases, including the killing of five policemen in Multan four years ago.

The five suspects are also accused of planning attacks against foreigners living in Pakistan.

A large quantity of weapons was also seized.




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