KARACHI, Pakistan (AP) -- The Wall Street Journal issued a new appeal for kidnapped reporter Daniel Pearl's life Saturday, saying it believed an e-mail claiming he had been killed was a hoax. Pakistani authorities also said they think Pearl is still alive.
The statements came a day after an e-mail sent to CNN and Fox News said Pearl had been killed and his body dumped in a Karachi graveyard. Hundreds of Pakistani police searched cemeteries through the night, but by morning they had found nothing to confirm the e-mail's claims.
In New York, The Wall Street Journal said it believed both the e-mail and a telephone message demanding ransom money for its reporter were hoaxes. The paper urged the kidnappers either to release Pearl or "demonstrate that Danny remains alive" by providing a photo of him showing a current newspaper.
In Pakistan's Sindh province, meanwhile, provincial governor Mukhtar Ahmad Sheikh expressed hope that Pearl would be found "as we believe the man is still alive."
Pearl, 38, was abducted Jan. 23 in Karachi while pursuing an interview with the founder of a militant Muslim sect. His wife, Marianne, is six months pregnant with their first child.
Overnight, police combed through 300 cemeteries in Karachi, a southern city of 12 million people. Graveyard administrators were told not to bury any bodies and to tell the police about any brought for burial by suspicious people, police said.
"We have searched graveyards and other places," said police spokesman Tariq Jamil. "But so far there is no clue."
Also Saturday, police reported several additional arrests in the case, including the father and other relatives of a key suspect -- a member of a Muslim extremist group whose family reported he had recently died in Afghanistan. But officials refused to say whether they were any closer to finding Pearl or his abductors.
Saturday's developments came a day after conflicting reports emerged about Pearl's fate.
A caller contacted U.S. authorities and demanded $2 million and the release of the former Taliban ambassador to Pakistan, Mullah Abdul Salaam Zaeef, senior police officials said. But the e-mail said Pearl had been killed because earlier demands were not met.
"It seems that the American government is not interested even in life of its own citizens," the e-mail said. "WE have killed Mr Danny Now Mr bush can find his body in the grave yards of Karachi."
"We are thirsty for the blood of another American," it added.
U.S. officials said they had no evidence to support the claim that Pearl was dead. And Paul Steiger, managing editor of the Wall Street Journal, said Saturday that "based on reports from Pakistan," the newspaper believed both messages were hoaxes.
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