Tags: Body | Karachi | Causes | False | Alarm

Body in Karachi Causes False Alarm

Monday, 04 February 2002 12:00 AM

Police in the southern Pakistani city of Karachi took the wife of the kidnapped Wall Street Journal reporter to identify the body Sunday evening. She confirmed that it was not her husband.

Pearl, 38, was abducted from a Karachi restaurant on Jan. 23 while working on a story. He is the Wall Street Journal's bureau chief in Bombay, India, but had temporarily moved to Pakistan to cover the U.S.-led war on terrorism.

His wife, Marianne, six months pregnant with their first child, is in Karachi working for her husband's release.

On Sunday, she published an appeal in the local newspapers urging Pearl's captors to immediately release the New Jersey native. The appeal described Pearl as sympathetic to the Muslim cause and said that keeping him would serve no purpose.

Chief of the Karachi police, Syed Kamal Shah, told reporters that the body found in the old Haji Camp area of the city was that of a man in his early 30s. He was shot twice in the temple at close range. Police also found two empty bullet shells near his body.

So far, no one has claimed the body. Police have not been able to identify the man, as he had no papers with him.

Shah said the body was thrown from a car, causing speculation that the captors had finally executed Pearl as they had threatened to do if their demands were not met.

Pearl's captors are demanding the release of an undisclosed number of Pakistani prisoners from a U.S. Navy base in Cuba as well as $2 million as ransom. The prisoners are among those arrested in Afghanistan during the war and brought to Cuba earlier this month.

In Washington, the State Department also denied reports that Pearl had been executed. A State Department spokesman told UPI that "the body (found in Karachi) is not Daniel Pearl."

He said the regional security officer at the U.S. Consulate in Karachi had gone with Pearl's wife to see the body and determined that he was a stranger.

Earlier, Fox News and ABC News networks reported that the body of the kidnapped journalist had been found. Quoting local police sources, the American TV news networks said that the body had been identified as that of Pearl.

This is the second time in a week that major news organizations have reported Pearl's execution.

On Friday, CNN reported his death, quoting an e-mail from the alleged abductors. It later turned out to be a fake message sent by some teenagers. Through another e-mail, Pearl's captors announced he was still alive.

Since then, police in Karachi have arrested two teenagers in connection with sending false e-mails. Pakistani police also arrested a 12-year-old boy in the capital, Islamabad, for making a prank call to the U.S. Embassy.

Police are also investigating another call to the U.S. Consulate in Karachi that said the abductors want $2 million for releasing Pearl.

Police in Karachi -- and FBI investigators working with them -- have said they no longer will take any e-mail seriously unless it accompanies Pearl's picture holding that day's newspaper.

Copyright 2002 by United Press International. All rights reserved.

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Police in the southern Pakistani city of Karachi took the wife of the kidnapped Wall Street Journal reporter to identify the body Sunday evening. She confirmed that it was not her husband. Pearl, 38, was abducted from a Karachi restaurant on Jan. 23 while working on a...
Body,Karachi,Causes,False,Alarm
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2002-00-04
Monday, 04 February 2002 12:00 AM
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