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Top Court of Pakistan Overturns Order of Sindh HC in Journalist’s Murder Case

By VANDANA KOTHARI      02 October, 2020 12:32 PM      0 Comments
Pakistan Top Court Daniel Pearl

Mr. Daniel Pearl, the 38-year-old South Asia bureau chief for The Wall Street Journal, was abducted and murdered while he was in Pakistan investigating a story in 2002 on the alleged links between the country’s powerful spy agency ISI and al-Qaeda.

al- Qaeda leader Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh and his three aides were convicted in the abduction and murder of Pearl in 2002. The main accused Sheikh spent 18 years in the jail.  

On April 2020, the two-judge bench of the High Court of Sindh reduced the death sentence of Sheikh to seven years and acquitted the other three aides. Two days after this order the Sindh government invoked the Maintenance of Public Order to keep the four convicts in jail. The Government and the parents of the journalist then filed an appeal in the Supreme Court against the order of the Sindh High Court. 

The appeal was granted by three judge bench headed by Justice Mushir Alam of the Supreme Court, where in the Sindh Government Lawyer, Farooq Naek, in his argument said that the main accused i.e., Sheikh was recognised by a taxi driver and 23 other witnesses also appeared in the trial court to prove charges against the main accused and others. 

He further argued that kidnapping was proven and endorsed by the Sindh High Court, which quashed the charges of ransom and murder.

He pleaded that “I will request for the Sindh High Court’s decision to be suspended.”

The counsel for Pearl’s parents Faisal Siddiqui, stated that Sheikh confessed to SHC Registrar through a letter, but the confession was ignored by the High Court in the letter. 

He argued that the confessional statements of the two accused persons proved the murder to be a conspiracy.

The counsel said that “We want the trial court’s decision to be reinstated. Evidence suggests the abduction was for ransom. The court’s query regarding the element of conspiracy is correct.”

After hearing the argument, the Supreme Court on Monday asked the government to keep the main accused and his aides in detention and overturned the high court Judgement. 

The hearing of the case is adjourned for a week by the court. 

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