- The Washington Times - Monday, January 28, 2002

NEW YORK A group claiming to have seized a Wall Street Journal reporter missing in Pakistan said he was being held in "inhuman conditions" comparable to those of suspected terrorists in U.S. custody, the newspaper reported yesterday.
An e-mail from the National Movement for the Restoration of Pakistani Sovereignty accused reporter Daniel Pearl of being a CIA officer posing as a journalist, the Journal reported yesterday on its Web site.
The newspaper said the e-mail was accompanied by four photographs of Mr. Pearl, one showing him with a gun to his head, and demanded better treatment for fighters being held by the United States at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, Cuba.
In Pakistan, police sources speaking on the condition they not be identified said they believe Mr. Pearl was kidnapped by Harkat ul-Mujahedeen, which has close ties to al Qaeda and is on the U.S. government's list of terrorist organizations. A number of Harkat fighters were known to have been killed in Afghanistan during the bombing campaign.
Mr. Pearl, 38, a reporter based in Bombay, has been missing since Wednesday, when he went to visit a source near Karachi, Pakistan, for a story about terrorism, the newspaper said.
Steven Goldstein, a vice president of Dow Jones & Co., the Journal's owner, said the newspaper "has not had any direct contact with the group" that claimed to hold Mr. Pearl.
He said the photographs appear to be legitimate but would not be distributed.
Both the newspaper and the Central Intelligence Agency denied that Mr. Pearl worked for the agency.
"Although we don't normally discuss such matters, Daniel Pearl does not now nor has he ever worked for the CIA," agency spokeswoman Anya Guilsher said yesterday.
Miss Guilsher would not comment on the group named in the e-mail or its demands.
The Journal quoted the e-mail as saying Mr. Pearl was being held "in very inhuman circumstances quite similar in fact to the way Pakistanis and nationals of other sovereign countries are being kept in Cuba by the American army. If the Americans keep our countrymen in better conditions, then we will better the conditions of Mr. Pearl and all other Americans that we capture."
Mr. Goldstein said the group had made a mistaken assumption.
"As a private citizen employed by an independent newspaper, neither Mr. Pearl, nor we, can change the policies of the United States or Pakistan," Mr. Goldstein said.
The e-mail said Pakistanis being held at Guantanamo must be given access to lawyers and "must be returned to Pakistan and they will be tried in a Pakistani court."

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