ISLAMABAD            -         The Supreme Court of Pakistan Monday once again rejected the Sindh government’s plea to suspend Sindh High Court (SHC) verdict to acquit the accused involved in the murder of Daniel Pearl, Bureau Chief of Wall Street Journal in Pakistan.

A three-member bench of the apex court headed by Justice Mushir Alam conducted hearing of the appeal of the Sindh government and Daniel Pearl’s parents against the SHC to acquit the alleged murderers of Daniel Pearl.

During the hearing, Advocate Farooq H Naek representing the Sindh government informed that they have submitted an application for early hearing of their appeal. However, the bench said that they would hear them after summer vacations. The counsel then verbally requested to suspend the SHC judgment as the MPO would expire on July 2.

He asked the bench to allow the government to proceed in accordance with the MPO or give observation in this regard.

Justice Yahya said that for acting on law whether the government requires the court observation?

Farooq Naek adopted that the accused are international terrorists and the government has detained them under the MPO.

Justice Yahya Afridi asked how the accused could be termed terrorists after their acquittal by the High Court.

The counsel contended that the accused had worked with the terrorist organizations and if they were released then there would be serious consequences.

Justice Yahya told him to keep in mind that one High Court had acquitted them and the accused have not seen sun for the last 18 years.

Justice Mushir Alam said that how without tangible evidence they could suspend the Sindh High Court judgment. He said the verdict could be set aside if the prosecution succeeds in pointing out lacunas in it.

Later, the bench adjourned hearing in the case till the second week of September.

On the last hearing the bench had directed the counsels to file complete documents before the next date of hearing and come fully prepared whether the particularly on the points that whether the abductee was the foreign journalist, the conspiracy was hatched in Islamabad and that the conspiracy has to be proved with evidence, and that the persons arrested have committed murder.

Daniel Pearl was killed in Karachi in January, 2002. His wife Mariane Pearl on 04.02.2002 had filed an FIR at Artillery Maidan Police Station Karachi. Trial Court on 15-07-2002 convicted Ahmad Omer Saeed Sheikh and awarded him death sentence, while Adil Sheikh, Salman Saqib and Fahad Nasim were given life imprisonment under Section 7 of Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997.

The convicts later challenged the sentence in the Sindh High Court. The State also filed Special Anti-Terrorism appeal for enhancement of sentence of life imprisonment awarded to Adil Sheikh, Salman Saqib and Fahad Nasim in the SHC. A Division of the High Court, Karachi, heard the appeals together and delivered the judgment on 02-04-2020 acquitted the accused. It also held that the subject case does not fall within the purview of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997 and Omer Sheikh is entitled to both remissions in accordance with law and the benefit of Section 382-B, Criminal Procedure Code, 1898.