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April 4, 2020

Daniel Pearl case: Sindh invokes public order law to prevent suspects from walking free

Top Story

 
April 4, 2020

Ag Agencies

KARACHI: The Sindh government on Friday invoked the Maintenance of Public Order (MPO) law to keep the four men suspected of murdering American journalist Daniel Pearl in detention for another 90 days.

The orders were issued under Section 3 of the MPO a day after the Sindh High Court overturned the death penalty of prime suspect Omer Saeed Sheikh and acquitted three others in the case.

According to a notification issued by the Sindh Home Ministry, the release of Omer 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.

Talking to Geo News on the case, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said: “We are surprised at the timing of the verdict.” He added that the ruling shall be challenged at a higher forum. Qureshi said Pakistan has sacrificed a lot in the fight against terrorism.

Earlier on Friday, the United States had expressed concern over the verdict, terming the development an insult to victims of terrorism everywhere. In a tweet, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Alice Wells 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.”

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) also expressed disappointment with the verdict and asked for it to be appealed. “The Committee to Protect Journalists is deeply disappointed to see justice in the murder case of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl denied by a Pakistani court today,” said Steven Butler, CPJ’s Asia programme coordinator. United Nations Spokesman Stephane Dujarric, when asked about the ruling, said: “I have no specific comment except to say that, obviously, we stand against the use of the death penalty.

“We do, however, strongly believe that there needs to be accountability for people who take the lives of others, especially, in this case, the life of a journalist,” Dujarric said during UN’s online briefing in New York.

Pearl, 38, was the South Asia bureau chief for The Wall Street Journal when he was abducted in Karachi in January 2002 while researching a story about religious extremists in Karachi.