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U.S., Pakistani officials search for missing journalist

Pearl photo
The Wall Street Journal received photos claiming to be those of kidnapped reporter Daniel Pearl.  


KARACHI, Pakistan (CNN) -- U.S. and Pakistani authorities continued searching Monday for a Wall Street Journal reporter after photographs were released showing him shackled and at gunpoint.

Four photos of Daniel Pearl, 38, were sent to a Journal correspondent via e-mail recently and were revealed by the newspaper Sunday, according to the newspaper's spokesman, Steven Goldstein.

One of the photos shows Pearl seated in handcuffs with his head bowed while a man holds a gun to his head and grabs his hair. Another photo shows Pearl holding up a Pakistani newspaper.

Pearl has been missing since Wednesday evening when he left his Karachi quarters to do an interview, Goldstein said. He did not check in that evening and has not been heard from since. Goldstein said all the Journal's international correspondents who work in dangerous areas are required to check in with the newspaper every evening.

Goldstein said he believes the abductors may have "made a mistake" in capturing Pearl, noting that writing on the photos indicated they think Pearl is a CIA spy.

VIDEO
U.S. and Pakistani authorities are searching for a Wall Street Journal reporter who has been kidnapped by a group in Pakistan. CNN's Andrea Koppel reports (January 29)

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"Mr. Pearl -- as [are] all Wall Street Journal reporters -- is solely a journalist," said Goldstein, urging the captors to release the reporter immediately. "He has no connection whatsoever with the government of the United States, including the Central Intelligence Agency. Nothing can be served by his continued detention."

A CIA representative confirmed that Pearl has never worked for the agency.

Pearl is married to a Frenchwoman, who is several months pregnant. The couple live in Karachi.

It remains unclear who is responsible for Pearl's apparent abduction. Reports indicated a group called the National Movement for the Restoration of Pakistani Sovereignty claimed responsibility, but officials said they do not recognize that group.

Pakistani police have mobilized their forces across the country in an effort to find Pearl. Karachi police are meeting with officials in Lahore, and special officers have been deployed in the country's capital, Islamabad, to track down anyone who recently had contact with Pearl.

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage said the United States is "closely involved" with Pakistani authorities in trying to find Pearl.

"The authorities in Pakistan, their intelligence authorities, law enforcement people and army are looking everywhere try to resolve the fate of this missing reporter," Armitage said Monday.

A Pakistani man, probably the last person to see Pearl, said the journalist had interviewed him and was about to leave for another interview about Richard Reid, a man accused of planning to blow up an American Airlines plane with a bomb hidden in his shoes.

"By the time he got up from my office, it was about 6:45 or 6:50 p.m. to meet that person," said Yamil Yusuf, head of a citizen's police liaison committee. "There was no one with him. He did not elaborate much. He talked about Richard [Reid]. ... That's all I know about him."

Pearl
Kidnapped reporter Daniel Pearl  

It is "relatively common" for journalists in the Pakistan area to be kidnapped, according to Veronica Forwood of Reporters Without Borders, a group that supports press freedom. She said it was possible Pearl's captors were responsible for another journalist's recent abduction.

Ghulam Hasnain, a Pakistani reporter working for Time magazine, was abducted last week and released several days later, according to Reporters Without Borders. Hasnain has returned home but refused to comment on what happened to him.

"We don't usually hear quite so much about it because often the victims are much lower profile ... but obviously this is a high-profile case," Forwood said.

Forwood said the group is working with Pearl's wife to help locate the reporter.

Pearl joined The Wall Street Journal as a reporter in the Atlanta bureau in November 1990 and moved to the Washington bureau to cover transportation in 1993. In January 1996, he moved to London, and in February 1998, he began reporting from the Journal's Paris bureau. He has been based in Mumbai (Bombay), India, since December 2000.

He was born in Princeton, New Jersey, and graduated from Stanford University with a bachelor's degree in communications.

-- CNN Islamabad Bureau Chief Ash-Har Quraishi contributed to this report



 
 
 
 



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