KARACHI, Pakistan – The managing editor of The Wall Street Journal asked the group he believes responsible for the kidnapping of reporter Daniel Pearl for a private dialogue to "address your concerns" in an open letter issued Monday.
Meanwhile, Pearl's wife made an impassioned appeal for his life and said she was willing to die in his place.
Paul Steiger, the Journal managing editor, addressed the letter to the National Movement for the Restoration of Pakistani Sovereignty.
"I know that the National Movement for the Restoration of Pakistani Sovereignty is very serious and wants others to know about its movement. To assure that this happens it is important for you to respond to this message," Steiger's letter said.
That organization signed the first e-mail sent on Jan. 27 claiming to have abducted Pearl who disappeared four days earlier. Attached to that claim were photographs of the journalist — one with a gun pointed at his head, another with Pearl holding a newspaper dated Jan. 27.
That communication demanded that Washington return Pakistani prisoners held at the U.S. naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for trial in Pakistan. The Bush administration has ruled out any negotiations.
A number of groups have been named by Pakistani authorities as possible suspects in the kidnapping. When asked why Steiger addressed his letter to the National Movement for the Restoration of Pakistani Sovereignty, a Dow Jones' spokesman said the letter spoke for itself. Dow Jones publishes the Journal.
"I have not heard from you for several days and want to begin a dialogue that will address your concerns and bring about Danny's safe release," Steiger's letter said.
"Since your last e-mail I have received numerous e-mails from people who claim that they are holding Danny. Because of these claims, it has become difficult for me to know that I am communicating with the people holding Danny. These individuals have caused a great deal of confusion.
"Also these numerous messages, which have been made public, detract from your serious concerns. The world is getting a mixed message, and perhaps a negative impression of the National Movement for the Restoration of Pakistani Sovereignty," the Steiger letter said.
He suggested the kidnappers use the e-mail account or private telephone number of one of two Pearl friends, both best men at his wedding, to restore communication.
"This line of communication would show me that Danny is with you and would allow us one-to-one contact. We are eager to hear from you soon," Steiger concluded.
Pearl's abductors last released a photo of him Wednesday, with a threat to kill him in 24 hours.
Mariane Pearl, who is six months pregnant with the couple's first child, urged the kidnappers to contact her.
"Don't harm an innocent man because you're just going to create one more misery," she said in Karachi in a BBC television interview. "Using Daniel as a symbol and all of this is completely wrong, completely wrong."
"If anyone's going to give his life to save him it's me," she said. "Please make contact with me — I'm ready."
Twelve days into Pearl's kidnap ordeal, Pakistan's interior minister said efforts to find the journalist were now "massive in scale, spread to all parts of Pakistan."
"We are hopeful that Daniel Pearl is alive," said the minister, Moinuddin Haider, who is responsible for law and order in Pakistan. "I can't claim of making any breakthrough though we are getting close to the men involved."
Pakistan is under pressure to find Pearl before President Pervez Musharraf visits Washington next week. Musharraf met late Monday with U.S. deputy Treasury Secretary Kenneth Dam, and U.S. officials said the Pearl case was believed to have been among the topics.
The kidnapping "gives us a bad image and we have decided that our image is of a responsible state and of a responsible country," Haider told reporters. "So I would appeal to those people, if this message reaches them through you, that, please, release him."
Pearl, 38, the Journal's South Asian bureau chief, was working on a story about Islamic fundamentalists and trying through intermediaries to arrange an interview with the leader of a small militant group, Sheik Mubarak Ali Shah Gilani. Pearl disappeared Jan. 23 in Karachi, the crime-ridden capital of southern Sindh province, after going to meet a contact at a restaurant.
The inspector general of Sindh police, Kamal Shah, said Pearl risked his life by meeting people he barely knew. "It is not a routine kind of abduction. He went with them willingly," Shah said. "We don't know where he has been taken. He could be taken anywhere."
The discovery Sunday in Karachi of the body of a light-skinned man in his late 30s led to initial media reports that it was Pearl's. But police said the corpse was that of an Iranian.
Hoax e-mails which purported to come from Pearl's kidnappers, including one which claimed his body had been dumped in a Karachi graveyard, have also complicated the investigation.
Police say a teen-age boy in the eastern border city of Lahore admitted sending two bogus e-mails.
Investigators still consider Islamic extremists, especially Harkat ul-Mujahedeen, as the most likely suspects in Pearl's abduction. But police have not traced two primary suspects, Mohammed Hashim and Bashir Ahmad Shabbir.
Hashim, also known as Arif, is believed to be a Harkat ul-Mujahedeen activist and Shabbir was a follower of Gilani, the Muslim cleric Pearl was hoping to interview, police said. Pearl had contacted both suspects before his abduction.
Gilani was arrested last week and authorities say he remains in custody. But investigators are uncertain whether he was involved in the abduction. With leads into Islamic militants running dry, police have also expanded the investigation to see whether Karachi's criminal underworld is involved.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.