Daniel Pearl Case: Is federal government going to file a review petition?

The US has said it is "outraged" by the Pakistani Supreme Court's decision to release four men convicted of the murder of American journalist Daniel Pearl in 2002. Is the federal government going to file a review petition?

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Federal and Sindh governments on Thursday have reportedly agreed to file a review petition in the Supreme Court against its verdict in the Daniel Pearl murder case. Sources at the attorney general’s office told GVS that the decision has been taken by the concerned authorities since the case is of utmost importance.

The source said that the government of Sindh submitted sensitive information in a sealed envelope to the court. The court has, lamented the source, shown disregard to the information because the same was not produced before any other forum.

Notably, Advocate General Sindh has said that the main accused Ahmed Omer Saeed has links with the outlawed banned groups. “There is evidence but we could not prove it before the court,” Sindh’s counsel said.

US is “outraged”

The US has said it is “outraged” by the Pakistani Supreme Court’s decision to release four men convicted of the murder of American journalist Daniel Pearl in 2002. The White House said it was “an affront to terrorism victims everywhere”.

White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the US “is outraged by the Pakistani Supreme Court’s decision to affirm the acquittals of those responsible for the Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl’s kidnapping and brutal murder which shocked the world’s conscience in 2002”.

“This decision to exonerate and release Sheikh and the other suspects is an affront to terrorism victims everywhere, including in Pakistan.”

Ms Psaki called on the Pakistani government “expeditiously review its legal options, including the United States to prosecute Sheikh for the brutal murder of an American citizen and journalist”.

She noted that Mr Sheikh was currently being held in detention in Pakistan “under national security authorities”.

Supreme Court orders release of accused persons

It is pertinent to mention here that the Supreme Court had earlier today dismissed the appeal of the Sindh government and acquitted the accused of the 2002 murder of American journalist Daniel Pearl.

A bench of the apex court headed by Justice Mushir Alam had announced a brief verdict over the appeal of the Sindh government against the Sindh High Court’s April 2020 decision. In the majority verdict, a member of the bench had written his note of dissent.

Four convicts of the murder case, British national Ahmed Omer Saeed Shaikh, co-accused Fahad Naseem, Salman Saqib and Sheikh Adil had moved the Sindh High Court (SHC) in 2002 challenging their convictions handed down by the Hyderabad Anti-Terrorism Court after finding them guilty of abducting and killing American Journalist Daniel Pearl.

Read more: Acquittal of Daniel Pearl’s murderers: SC refuses to overturn

The high court had overturned the verdict of the ATC and acquitted convicts on April 02, 2020. The 38-year-old South Asia bureau chief of The Wall Street Journal, Daniel Pearl, was researching for a story on religious extremists in January 2002 in Karachi, when he was abducted and slain.

“Wrong men convicted”

In January 2011, a report released by the Pearl Project at Georgetown University following an investigation into his death made chilling revelations and said that the wrong men had been convicted for Pearl’s murder.

Read more: Daniel Pearl killers: tussle between judiciary and government

The investigation, led by Pearl’s friend and former Wall Street Journal colleague Asra Nomani and a Georgetown University professor, claimed the reporter was murdered by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of the September 11, 2001 attacks, not Sheikh.

A graphic video showing his decapitation was delivered to the US consulate nearly a month later.


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