The Supreme Court has stopped the release of Omar Saeed Sheikh, the man previously convicted of murdering American journalist Daniel Pearl, on the request of the Sindh government.
A three-judge bench heard the review petition filed by the Sindh government on Monday. The bench was headed by Justice Umar Ata Banidal.
Within 24 hours of the apex court verdict acquitting the prime accused in the Daniel Pearl murder case, the Sindh government had filed a petition seeking a review of the short order.
During Monday's hearing, Sheikh's lawyer said Sheikh is innocent and those involved in the murder of Daniel Pearl had been released. "The wrong man was caught under American pressure. Sheikh passed a law degree from the UK. If he hadn't been in jail, he would have been a better lawyer than me," Sheikh's lawyer argued.
Justice Sajjad Ali Shah asked when the detention order of Sheikh ended, to which Sheikh's lawyer gave a date of December 1, 2020.
Justice Bandial questioned why a citizen had been detained.
The hearing was adjourned till tomorrow.
Sheikh had been convicted of masterminding the brutal murder of Pearl. his acquittal sparked global outrage while the United States called it "an affront to terrorism victims everywhere" and demanded the Pakistani government "review its legal options."
Pearl was the South Asia bureau chief for the Wall Street Journal. He 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.