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Pakistan

Web Desk
April 5, 2020

US welcomes Pakistan’s decision to file appeal in Daniel Pearl murder case

Pakistan

Web Desk
Sun, Apr 05, 2020
Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Alice Wells. Photo: File 

The United States has welcomed the Pakistani government's statement to file appeal in the Daniel Pearl murder case.

“We welcome Pakistan's April 3 statement and the Sindh government’s decision to continue to detain those responsible for Daniel Pearl's kidnapping and murder and to mount a strong appeal,” Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Alice Wells said in a statement.

“The perpetrators of this horrific act of terrorism will not escape justice,” she added.

The Sindh High Court on Wednesday had overturned the death penalty of prime accused Omar Saeed Sheikh and acquitted three persons - Fahad Naseem, Syed Salman Saqib, and Sheikh Mohammad Adil - accused of being involved in the kidnapping and murder of the American journalist back in 2002.

A two-judge bench of the SHC, headed by Justice Mohammad Karim Khan Agha had announced the judgement which was reserved last month after the arguments of the appellants and the state counsel were concluded.

"The court has commuted Omar's death sentence to a seven-year sentence," a defence lawyer told media after the verdict. "The murder charges were not proven, so he has given seven years for the kidnapping."

"Omar has already served 18 years, so his release orders will be issued sometime today. He will be out in a few days," he had said.

Federal govt expresses reservations

The federal government on Friday had expressed its reservations over the Sindh High Court's ruling in the case, timing of which had also surprised Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi.

Stating that although it was a provincial matter given that it was a criminal case, the interior ministry said that the matter had been taken up with the Sindh home ministry as well.

The ministry added that the government of Sindh had decided to file an appeal against the SHC ruling next week with 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.