Daniel Pearl killing: Pak court orders mastermind’s release

Islamabad: The Pakistan Supreme Court ordered the immediate release of Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, the key accused in the 2002 kidnap and murder case of American journalist Daniel Pearl, from his death cell and be shifted to a government rest house.

Headed by Justice Umar Ata Bandial, the three-member bench ordered to shift Sheikh to the general barracks for two days. Following this, Sheikh will then be transferred to a government-run rest house, under tight security, said officials.

Sheikh’s family will be able to visit him in the rest house between 8 AM to 5 PM, the officials added. However, under any circumstances, he will not be allowed to access a mobile phone or the internet. The government shall pay for his family’s accommodation and transport.

Pearl, the 38-year-old South Asia bureau chief for The Wall Street Journal, was abducted and beheaded while he was in Pakistan investigating a story in 2002 on the links between the country’s powerful spy agency ISI and al-Qaeda.

In April 2020, a two-judge Sindh High Court bench commuted the death sentence of Sheikh to seven years imprisonment. The court also acquitted his three aides who were serving life terms in the case — almost two decades after they were found guilty and jailed.

The Sindh government and the family of Pearl filed petitions in the apex court, challenging the high court verdict.

The Supreme Court dismissed their appeals against the acquittal of Sheikh and ordered his release, a judgment denounced by the American journalist’s family as “a complete travesty of justice.”

The US government has asked the Pakistan government to ensure that those involved in murdering Pearl should be punished. (Outlook)

Image courtesy of (The Hindu)

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