Hayatullah Khan told his family before his disappearance Monday that he feared government reprisal for sending his photos to Pakistani and international media organizations, The Los Angeles Times said.
Witnesses reported that five masked men with AK-47 assault rifles abducted Khan in the town of Mir Ali, about 18 miles north of Miram Shah, the administrative capital of the North Waziristan tribal area that borders Afghanistan.
Khan was headed toward a checkpoint east of Mir Ali to cover a student protest when the gunmen stopped his car. They took him away in another vehicle.
The al-Qaida operative, whom Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf identified as Egyptian Abu Hamza Rabia, died Dec. 1 when an explosion destroyed a mud-brick compound in the village of Asoray. Rabia was believed to be commander of al-Qaida's international operations.