ISLAMABAD - The Sindh government on Wednesday filed an appeal in the Supreme Court of Pakistan against the decision of the Sindh High Court (SHC) that overturned sentences of four convicts in the murder case of renowned American journalist Daniel Pearl.

Sindh Prosecutor General Dr Fiaz Shah filed the petition in the Supreme Court of Pakistan and pleaded for reinstating the sentences earlier given to the accused persons by the trial court.

According to official sources, the provincial government challenged the Sindh High Court’s verdict. The government also appealed the top court to declare the verdict as “null and void” and the death sentence awarded to the prime accused, Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, should be reinstated. Earlier, the high court had reduced the sentence to seven years.

The Sindh government’ also pleaded that the life sentences awarded to Fahad Nasim Ahmed, Syed Salman Saqib and Sheikh Muhammad Adil by the trial court should be reinstated. The provincial government in its pleas made all accused respondents involved in Daniel Pearl’s murder case.

On April 2, the Sindh High Court overturned the death sentence for British-born militant Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, who had been convicted in the case in 2002. His sentence was commuted to seven years and a fine of Rs 2000,000 was imposed on him.Three suspects, Adil Sheikh, Salman Saqib and Fahad Nasim, were acquitted. They had previously been sentenced to life imprisonment. The petition further said the suspects had confessed to the crime before a presiding judge of an anti-terrorism court in Karachi and the “acquittal and modification of sentence through the impugned judgment is not sustainable and is liable to be set aside”.

The court caused a “serious miscarriage of justice”, it says, adding that the court had “erred in dealing with the legal question of burden of proof as the prosecution had safely discharged the burden to prove the guilt of the accused men”. It added, “The Honourable High Court failed to appreciate that there was “overwhelming incriminating evidence on record against the respondents /accused connecting them to the offences with which they were charged.”

The petitioner has asked the top court to “grant leave to appeal” against the Sindh High Court’s judgment. The petition also says that Mariane Pearl, a US national who was living in Karachi’s Zamzama, wrote a letter to Artillery Maidan police on February 2, 2002, and said that her husband disappeared on January 23, 2002.