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September 18, 2019

SHC directs law secretary to submit report on appointment of new special prosecutor

Karachi

September 18, 2019

The Sindh High Court on Tuesday directed the law secretary to submit a report with regard to the appointment of a special prosecutor to defend the prosecution’s case on appeals of convicts who had kidnapped and murdered American journalist Daniel Pearl in 2002.

The direction came during a hearing of appeals filed by Ahmed Omer Sheikh and three others against their convictions. The court was informed by the deputy prosecutor general that the law department had appointed Raja Qureshi as special prosecutor to represent the state on appeals of the convicts in the high-profile case; however, Qureshi died in September 2012.

A division bench headed by Justice Mohammad Karim Khan Agha inquired the government law officer as to why a new special prosecutor was not being appointed despite the lapse of seven years.

The court directed the law secretary to submit a report on whether the department wished to appoint another special prosecutor and place on record a notification with regard to his appointment to represent the prosecution over the appeals of the convicts. The hearing was adjourned till November 20.

Daniel Pearl, a US national and the South Asian region bureau chief of the Wall Street Journal, was kidnapped on January 23, 2002, in Karachi and later beheaded by his captors when their demands were not met.

The main convict, Ahmed Omer Sheikh, was sentenced to death for kidnapping and killing the journalist, and his three accomplices – Fahad Naseem, Syed Salman Saqib and Sheikh Muhammad Adil – were sentenced to life imprisonment with a fine of Rs500,000 each by a Hyderabad anti-terrorism court on July 15, 2002.

Hashim and other co-accused – Asim alias Qasim, Hassan, Ahmed Bhai, Imtiaz Siddiqui and Amjad Farooqui – were declared proclaimed offenders by the court. The appeals of the convicts have been pending at the SHC since July 2002.

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