Pak Supreme Court appeal in Daniel Pearl case next week

Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Interior Ministry said that the Sindh government would file an appeal against the provincial high court ruling in the case of slain American journalist Daniel Pearl, who was abducted and beheaded in 2002, in the Supreme Court next week.

In a statement on Friday, the Ministry said that the federal government was “well aware of the facts of the judgment” issued by the Sindh High Court (SHC) on Thursday which led to the acquittal of the four accused in the case, including Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, who was sentenced to death in 2002 for masterminding Pearl’s murder, reports The Express Tribune.

The other three were sentenced to life. “The federal government is concerned about the decision however, as per constitutional scheme of things prosecution in criminal matters is a provincial subject, therefore similar concern has been shared with the government of Sindh,” said the statement.

The Sindh government’s decision to file an appeal against the judgment before the top court “in order to ensure that the ends of justice are met”. The statement added that all the four accused in the case have been re-arrested and detained for a period of three months, pending filing of the appeal in the apex court. The Ministry said that “government of Pakistan reiterates its commitment to follow due process under the laws of the country to bring terrorists to task”, The Express Tribune reported.

Pearl, 38, a Wall Street Journal reporter, was investigating militants in Karachi after the September 11, 2001, attacks on the US when he was kidnapped in January 2002. He was later beheaded.

The key accused, British-born Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, was handed down death penalty by an anti-terrorism court in Hyderabad on July 15, 2002, for masterminding the murder. He was in jail for 18 years awaiting the outcome of the appeal. Resonding to Friday’s development, the US State Department said the “overturning of the convictions for Daniel Pearl’s murder is an affront to victims of terrorism everywhere”.

The US welcomed Pakistan’s decision to appeal the verdict, saying that “those responsible for Daniel’s heinous kidnapping and murder must face the full measure of justice”.

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