Federal govt expresses reservations over Daniel Pearl verdict

Web Desk
April 03, 2020

The interior ministry said centre had advised Sindh to utilise best resources to file the appeal and ensure all legal requirements were fulfilled

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The News/via Geo.tv/Files

ISLAMABAD: The interior ministry said Friday the federal government has expressed reservations over the Sindh High Court's (SHC) decision to commute the death sentence of the prime accused in the Daniel Pearl case and acquit his three accomplices.

The centre has expressed concern over the SHC's April 2 ruling over the case of US journalist Daniel Pearl's murder, the ministry said, noting that although it was a provincial matter given that it was a criminal case, the matter had been taken up with the Sindh interior ministry as well.

The ministry added that the government of Sindh had decided to file an appeal against the SHC ruling next week in the Supreme Court of Pakistan. Until that was done, a case under public order law was filed against all four suspects, who were also put under house arrest under the Maintenance of Public Order Ordinance for three months.

The centre, according to the interior ministry, advised the Sindh government to ensure that all the legal requirements were fulfilled and utilise the best resources to file the appeal in the top court. It also directed the provincial leadership to consult the Attorney General in this regard.

The federal government also reiterated the resolve to bring the terrorists to justice.

Sindh invokes public law order

Earlier today, the government of Sindh had invoked the Maintenance of Public Order (MPO) law to prevent all of the Daniel Pearl murder suspects from walking free and ordered they be kept in detention for another 90 days.

According to the Sindh home ministry's notification, the release of prime accused Omar Saeed Sheikh, Fahad Naseem, Syed Salman Saqib, and Sheikh Mohammad Adil could jeopardise the law and order situation in the province, thus necessitating their continued detention.

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi had told Geo News the centre was surprised at the verdict's timing and that the ruling would be challenged at a higher forum. Pakistan has sacrificed a lot in the fight against terrorism, he had added.

The United States, too, had expressed concern on the acquittal of all four suspects from terrorism charges, terming the development an insult to victims of terrorism everywhere.

In a statement, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Alice G. Wells had said: "We welcome Pakistan’s decision to appeal the verdict.

"Those responsible for Daniel's heinous kidnapping and murder must face the full measure of justice," Wells had added.

The SHC had on Wednesday completely acquitted three suspects of involvement in the WSJ reporter's kidnapping and murder back in 2002, overturning Sheikh's death penalty for the killing and handing him a seven-year imprisonment sentence for abducting the journalist instead.

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