SC directs to shift Daniel Pearl murder accused Omar Sheikh to a rest house

ISLAMABAD (APP): The Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday directed authorities concerned to shift Ahmed Omar Sheikh,  main accused in American Journalist Daniel Pearl’s murder, from death cell to a  government rest house in a couple of days.

A three-member SC bench headed by Justice Umar Ata Bandial and comprising Justice Sajjad Ali Shah and Justice Munib Akhtar heard the review petition filed by the Sindh government in American Journalist Daniel Pearl murder case.

The court also directed the provincial government to place security around the rest house and also directed not to provide mobile and internet facilities to the accused.

The bench also allowed Sheikh’s family to stay with him at the rest house from 8am to 5pm.

The court once again turned sown the government’s appeal to suspend the SHC’s verdict regarding acquittal of accused and stated that the federal government could file an appeal against the SHC’s decision.

The Sindh advocate general (AG) prayed before the court that Sheikh could escape after his release.

The court questioning the detention said, “Is it necessary to keep the accused in jail to prevent them from escaping?”.

Responding to the court’s remarks, the provincial AG replied that detainees should not be allowed to stay with their families. “Sheikh can contact his family members via cell phone,” the AG suggested.To this, Justice Sajjad Ali Shah responded that according to the government, Sheikh had already been using a cell phone in his jail.

The assistant advocate prayed the court to allow them keep the accused in Lahore.

The Advocate General said that if Ahmed Omer and others were released, they would escape. He prayed the court to suspend the release orders.

Justice Munib said that detention of the accused seemed to be a provincial matter. He said that the federal government had delegated its authority to the provinces. Apparently, only Advocate General Sindh had to be given notice, he added.

He observed that the notice was not issued to the Attorney General as the petitioner did not challenge the law.

The Attorney General said that the court could not deprive the federal government of its powers.

Justice Sajjad Ali Shah said that there should be some material to use authority. He said  the federal government may submit the material it had against the accused. Each case had a history but the court did not know the history of this case, he added.

The case was adjourned for two weeks.