Accused in Daniel Pearl murder case to be released

Clay Curtis
February 3, 2021

His family will be able to meet him from 8am to 5pm and he will not have access to a mobile phone or internet at the rest house, the court said.

The case was adjourned for the third week of February.

Sheikh's lawyer, Mehmood A. Sheikh, told The Associated Press that the order to send his client to the safe house was given to allow the Sindh government time to argue against his release under Pakistan's anti-terrorism law, in connection to Sheikh's affiliation with terrorist organizations.

The attorney-general said that a notice must be given of the SC decision to the federation.

On this, Justice Umar Ata Bandial sought proof of the allegation while Justice Sajjad Ali Shah asked that what action was taken from past 18 years on these terrorism charges.

To this, the lawyer responded that Sheikh's detention order expired on December 1, 2020. If the decision to release Omar Sheikh is not suspended, it will have serious consequences, he said.

During the proceeding, the attorney general contended that if it is feared that the detainees after their release will disappear or taken away, so there is need to keep them in custody.

She said she received an email from the abductors saying that he has been abducted "in retaliation for the imprisonment of Pakistani men by the United States government in Cuba and other complaints".

The attorney general, citing the Supreme Court's judgment in Rawalpindi case, argued that with the lapse of the statute the ground realities had not changed.

The letter, which was signed by the likes of Ro Khanna and Brad Sherman further said, "A statement issued on January 28th by the office of the Attorney General for Pakistan indicates that your government will conduct a full review of the acquittal passed by the Supreme Court".

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Justice Bandial questioned why a citizen had been detained. A member of the bench had opposed the decision.

The Sindh government on Friday filed a review petition in the apex court against the acquittal of Sheikh and his three accomplices.

"Omar Sheikh has admitted his involvement in the Daniel Pearl murder case", he added.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken "reinforced" Washington's concern over the case in a telephone call on Friday with Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi.

The Supreme Court resumed hearing on Tuesday the Sindh government's review petition against the top court's acquittal of Sheikh in the case.

A month later, the assailants sent a video showing his beheading to USA officials.

Al Qaeda's number three leader Khalid Sheikh Mohammed later confessed to killing Pearl, while Sheikh, a former student at the London School of Economics, played a key role in luring the journalist into a trap with the help of other Pakistani militants.

"We welcome the decision to file a Review Petition and expect the Pakistani government to expeditiously move to recall the order of acquittal to ensure justice is served".

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.

The 38-year-old South Asia bureau chief of The Wall Street Journal, Daniel Pearl, was researching for a story on religious extremists in January 2002 in Karachi, when he was abducted and slain. "We urge the USA government to take all necessary actions under the law to correct this injustice", the family said in a statement.

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