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—File Photo

KARACHI: Pakistani police on Wednesday said they had arrested a key leader of banned religious outfit the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), which has been linked to several incidents of sectarian violence in the country.

Hafiz Qasim Rasheed, the ‘Amir’, or chief, of the militant group LeJ’s Sindh chapter was arrested from Karachi on Wednesday with a cache of guns and grenades recovered from him, police said.

Additional IG CID  Ghulam Shabbir Sheikh told DawnNews that Rasheed was wanted for his suspected involvement in 33 cases of targeted and sectarian killings,including those of lawyers, police officers and political workers.

In 2001, the provincial government of Sindh had placed a bounty of Rs 500,000 on the suspect, while his name was also on the list of most wanted criminals.

Qasim Rasheed alias Ganja, was arrested after the Crime Investigation Department (CID) of the police received an anonymous tip-off. Hand grenades, pistols and Kalashnikovs were recovered from the suspect.

The suspect has been arrested by the police in the past more than once, including an arrest in 2005 for his involvement in a failed attempt at a rocket attack on Karachi’s Civil Lines police station. During interrogation following his 2005 arrest, police said the suspect had also disclosed his plans to target SP CID Fayyaz Khan.