The Pakistani government announced on Saturday that it would officially participate in the Sindh government investigation into the acquittal of British-born al-Qaeda terrorist Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh and his three associates in the murder of US journalist Daniel Pearl Will attend the Supreme Court.
Pearl, the 38-year-old head of the Wall Street Journal’s South Asian bureau, was kidnapped and beheaded while investigating a story in Pakistan in 2002 about the links between the country’s powerful espionage agency, ISI, and Al Qaeda.
The Supreme Court on Thursday ordered the release of the lead accused Sheikh and his aides – Fahad Naseem, Sheikh Adil and Salman Saqib – by dismissing appeals against their acquittal by the Sindh High Court. The verdict was condemned by Perle’s family as “an utter travesty of justice”.
The Sindh government filed with the Supreme Court on Friday to review the acquittal of Sheikh and his three accomplices.
A spokesman for the Pakistani attorney general announced on Saturday that the federal government would file an application with the Supreme Court in order to be allowed to participate as a party in the proceedings and to further review and recall the January 28 judgment.
The federal government will file a motion to set up a larger bank to hear the review motions. In cooperation with the state government, the federal government will continue to take all legal steps to bring the perpetrators of this heinous crime to justice, the spokesman said.
The announcement came a day after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke to Secretary of State Shah Mahmood Qureshi on the phone to discuss the accountability of convicted terrorists responsible for the brutal murder of Pearl.
Blinken also expressed “deeply concerned” about the Supreme Court ruling.
The Pakistani Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Qureshi “emphasized the importance and mutual interest that justice is served through legal means.”
According to some media reports, the Supreme Court would hear the petition for review on February 1st. However, no formal announcement has been made yet.
In April 2020, a two-judge Sindh High Court bank commuted the 46-year-old sheikh’s death sentence to seven years in prison. The court also acquitted its three aides, who were serving life sentences in the case – nearly two decades after they were found guilty and incarcerated.
The Sindh government and Pearl’s family petitions the Supreme Court appealing the Supreme Court’s verdict.
The Sindh government relied on the 1960 Public Order Maintenance Ordinance (MPO) to keep the four men in custody.
Her continued detention was challenged in the Sindh High Court (SHC), which on December 24 ordered the security authorities not to keep Sheikh and other defendants under “any kind of detention” and any notices from the Sindh government related to their detention void declared for zero and zero “.
The order sparked an immediate US response, which on December 25th expressed “deep concern” about the SHC order.
The State Department said it would continue to monitor all developments in the case and continue to support the Pearl family “through this extremely difficult process” while paying tribute to the legacy of the “courageous journalist.”
The US has put pressure on Pakistan and demanded justice for Pearl.
Last month, the US said it was ready to take custody of Sheikh, claiming Washington would not allow him to evade justice.
In a 2019 handwritten letter to the SHC, Sheikh admitted his limited involvement in the Pearl assassination. The letter was brought to the Supreme Court almost two weeks ago, and Sheikh’s attorney confirmed the letter on Wednesday.
However, the defendant did not explain the nature of his role, which he described as “minor”.