ISLAMABAD: Within 24 hours of the Supreme Court verdict acquitting the prime accused in the Daniel Pearl murder case, the Sindh government on Friday filed a petition seeking the review of the short order.
The top court’s order to release Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, who had been convicted of masterminding the brutal murder of Pearl, sparked global outrage while the United States called it "an affront to terrorism victims everywhere" and demanded the Pakistani government "review its legal options."
The petition, filed by the prosecutor general Sindh, also requested for an early hearing of the matter.
“Being aggrieved of and dissatisfied with the judgement of the Full Bench of this Hon'ble Court Comprising Mr Justice Mushir Alam, Mr Justice Sardar Tariq Masood and Mr Justice Yahya Afridi (the latter partly dissenting) in Criminal Appeal No.601 of 2020 dated 28.01.21, the petitioner files the instant Criminal Review Petition for Leave to Appeal on questions of law, facts and ground,” the petition stated.
It pleaded the court to review its verdict and reinstate their sentences as there were certain loopholes in the short order.
The PG also sought one week to submit more documents in the case.
On Thursday, the apex court had upheld the Sindh High Court’s (SHC) decision overturning the conviction of Sheikh in the 2002 incident that occurred in Karachi.
A three-member bench of the SC headed by Justice Mushir Alam announced the verdict with a 2-1 majority.
The court order said that Sheikh along with three accomplices connected to the case should "be released forthwith," if there are no other cases aginst them.
In a statement following the verdict, Sindh information minister Nasir Hussain Shah had said that the provincial government "has decided to go for a review on the orders of the Supreme Court".
"Omar Sheikh has admitted his involvement in the Daniel Pearl murder case," he added.
The administration of President Joe Biden Thursday expressed its displeasure over the development and offered to prosecute the accused in the United States.
The White House is "outraged by the Pakistani Supreme Court’s decision," chief spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters, calling the ruling "an affront to terrorism victims everywhere" and demanded the Pakistani government "review its legal options."
Pearl, the South Asia bureau chief for the Wall Street Journal, was researching a story about militants when he was abducted in Karachi in January 2002.
Nearly a month later, after a string of ransom demands, a graphic video showing his decapitation was given to officials.
Sheikh, a British-born extremist who once studied at the London School of Economics and had been involved in previous kidnappings of foreigners, was arrested days after Pearl’s abduction.
He was later sentenced to death by hanging after telling a Karachi court that Pearl had already been killed days before the gruesome video of the journalist’s beheading had been released.
Pearl’s family on Thursday called the decision to free him "a travesty of justice" and pleaded for US intervention in the case.
"The release of these killers puts in danger journalists everywhere and the people of Pakistan. We urge the US government to take all necessary actions under the law to correct this injustice," the family said in a statement.
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