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US, Pakistan diplomats discuss court’s Pearl ruling

Blinken 'reinforced U.S. concern about the Pakistani Supreme Court ruling and potential release of these prisoners'

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US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke Friday with Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi about Pakistani Supreme Court ruling to free suspects in American journalist’s murder.

“Secretary Blinken and Foreign Minister Qureshi discussed how to ensure accountability for convicted terrorist Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh and others responsible for the kidnapping and murder of American journalist Daniel Pearl,” said State Department Spokesperson Ned Price. “The Secretary reinforced U.S. concern about the Pakistani Supreme Court ruling and potential release of these prisoners.”

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

The two diplomats also discussed US-Pakistan cooperation on Afghan peace process, “support for regional stability, and the potential to expand our trade and commercial ties,” said the statement.

Pearl, a former South Asia bureau chief of the Wall Street Journal, was kidnapped in January 2002 and killed after a month in the southern port city of Karachi. His dismembered body was found on the northern outskirts of Karachi four months after his disappearance.

Pakistani Supreme Court ordered Thursday the release of Sheikh, prime accused in the murder case of Pearl.

On Thursday, Blinken said in a statement that the US is “deeply concerned” by the Supreme Court’s decision to acquit those involved in Pearl’s kidnapping and murder.

He noted that Sheikh was indicted in the US in 2002 for hostage-taking and conspiracy to commit hostage-taking, as well as the 1994 kidnapping of another American citizen in India.

“The court’s decision is an affront to terrorism victims everywhere, including in Pakistan,” he said, adding the US expects the Pakistani government to expeditiously review its legal options to ensure justice is served.

Read more: Supreme Court acquits Daniel Pearl murder case accused

“We are also prepared to prosecute Sheikh in the United States for his horrific crimes against an American citizen. We are committed to securing justice for Daniel Pearl’s family and holding terrorists accountable,” he added.

Anadolu with additional input by GVS News Desk

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