SC orders release of Daniel Pearl murder accused

ISLAMABAD (APP): The Supreme Court (SC) on Thursday maintained the Sindh High Court (SHC) order regarding release of Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, the main accused in the murder of American Journalist Daniel Pearl and dismissed the Sindh government appeal in a 2-1 split verdict.

A three-member bench of the apex court headed by Justice Mushir Alam and comprising Justice Sardar Tariq Masood and Justice Yahya Afridi rejected the appeals filed by the Sindh government and Daniel Pearl’s parents against the SHC decision in the Daniel Pearl murder case by a two-to-one majority while the court accepted the petition filed by the accused for release.

During the course of proceedings, the Sindh prosecutor general said an inquiry was being held against the accused for threatening government officials from jail.

On which Justice Sardar Tariq Masood asked why inquiry was not completed in 12 years.

The court issued a short order dismissing the appeals of the Sindh government and Daniel Pearl’s parents against the SHC decision in the Daniel Pearl murder case.

The court ruled that if the accused was not wanted for any other crime, he should be released immediately.

Meanwhile, another three-member bench headed by Justice Umar Ata Bandial accepted the petition filed by the Sindh government for declaring Ahmed Omar Sheikh, accused in the Daniel Pearl murder case, an enemy of the country and annulling the SHC decision for his release.

The court rejected the Sindh government’s plea to issue a stay order against the decision to release the accused till the decision on the petition.

The bench asked if the state had information against accused Ahmed Omar Sheikh, then why anti-state case was not filed against him.

Advocate General Sindh Salman Talib-ud-Din, while submitting sensitive information in a sealed envelope to the court, said accused Ahmed Omar Sheikh had links with banned organizations.

Justice Umar Ata Bandial, while addressing the Sindh advocate general, remarked that the material given to the  apex court had not been presented in any forum before and asked how the court could review the information which was never on record.

Justice Munib Akhtar remarked that Ahmed Omar Sheikh was never declared an anti-national agent by the government.

An SHC division bench on April 2, 2020 commuted the death sentence to Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh to seven years and acquitted three others who were serving life terms.