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Search Continues for American Reporter Missing in Pakistan - 2002-01-28


Authorities in Pakistan are still seeking information about a missing American journalist who is allegedly being held by Islamic extremists.

A nationwide search is underway for Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, who went missing last Wednesday in Karachi, Pakistan. Investigators have questioned a large number of people, checking possible links to militant Islamic groups in Pakistan. But officials have not said if they have uncovered any clue about who or where the American is being held.

On Sunday, Pakistani and U.S. media organizations received an e-mail message from a group calling itself "The National Movement for the Restoration of Pakistani Sovereignty." The group claims to be holding 38-year-old reporter Daniel Pearl. The message alleges the reporter has links with U.S. Central Intelligence Agency.

According to the e-mail message, the American journalist is being kept in "inhumane conditions" to protest against U.S. treatment of al-Qaida and Taleban prisoners in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The message includes a picture, showing Mr. Pearl with his wrists chained and a gun pointed to his head.

Pakistani police officials say they have seen the message and are looking for the relatively unknown group.

The U.S. embassy in Islamabad says it remains concerned for the reporter's safety. A spokesman says the embassy and the American consulate in Karachi are coordinating closely with Pakistani authorities to resolve the case.

The Wall Street Journal and U.S. officials have denied that the journalist worked for the CIA.

Mr. Pearl is based in Bombay, in neighboring India. According to his wife, he was trying to interview a leader of an Islamic group in Pakistan. The organization is said to have links with the al-Qaida terror group.