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Search Continues for Kidnapped American Journalist in Pakistan - 2002-02-05

Pakistani and U.S. investigators have made little progress in their search for kidnapped American journalist Daniel Pearl. A senior U.S. official visiting Pakistan says he is satisfied with the efforts Pakistan is making to recover the Wall Street Journal reporter.

Police and agents of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) have found no solid evidence linking any suspect to Daniel Pearl. He was abducted in the southern Pakistani city, Karachi, almost two weeks ago, after telling his wife he was going to interview a radical Islamic leader.

Police searches have included checks on a body with bullet wounds and interrogation of many suspects. The dead body was found Sunday in Karachi, within 24 hours after an e-mail message saying Mr. Pearl has been killed and his body dumped in a graveyard in the city. But the body was not that of the reporter.

Senior Pakistani officials have said they are "optimistic" Mr. Pearl will be found alive.

An American envoy, Deputy Treasury Secretary Kenneth Dam, is in Pakistan where he discussed the case of Mr. Pearl and other issues with President General Pervez Musharraf. Mr. Dam told reporters Tuesday he is satisfied with the investigation process.

"I am very impressed with what Pakistan is doing. The importance of this matter to the U.S. simply can't be overstated. The United States is very grateful for the efforts taken, to date, to help resolve this crisis. [The Pakistan government is] on top of the situation. It's a vigorous investigation," he said.

The kidnappers of Mr. Pearl have threatened to kill him unless the United States releases Pakistani prisoners from the war on terrorism in Afghanistan. Mr. Pearl is based in India. He was in Karachi investigating links between Pakistani militants and Richard Reid, the man who is detained in the United States for allegedly trying to blow up a passenger plane with explosives in his shoes.