Sindh challenges SHC verdict in SC


ISLAMABAD: The Sindh prosecution challenged the Sindh High Court (SHC) verdict in the top court to acquit the convicts involved in the murder of Daniel Pearl, bureau chief of Wall Street Journal in Pakistan.

Sindh Prosecutor General Dr Fiaz Shah on Wednesday filed an appeal under Article 185(3) of the Constitution in the Supreme Court against the SHC impugned judgment dated April 2, 2020 and made Adil Sheikh, Salman Saqib and Fahad Nasim as respondents.

It submitted that the SHC has failed to appreciate that there was overwhelming incriminating evidence on record against the respondents/accused connecting them to the offences with which they were charged.

It questioned that the High Court by not appreciating the material evidence, available on record, has not erred in law applicable to the case?

Daniel Pearl was killed in Karachi in January, 2002.

His wife Mariane Pearl on February 4, 2002 filed an FIR at Artillery Maidan Police Station Karachi.

Trial Court on July 15, 2002 convicted Ahmad Omer Saeed Sheikh and awarded him death sentence, while Adil Sheikh, Salman Saqib and Fahad Nasim were given life imprisonment under Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997.

The convicts challenged the sentence in the SHC.

The state also filed special anti-terrorism appeal for enhancement of sentence of life imprisonment awarded to Adil Sheikh, Salman Saqib and Fahad Nasim.

A division of the SHC, Karachi, heard the appeals together and rendered judgment on April 2, 2020.

It acquitted Adil Sheikh, Salman Saqib and Fahad Nasim and modified the sentence of Ahmed Omer Saeed Sheikh and convicted him under Section 362 PPC, and sentenced him to seven years RI with a fine of Rs2,000,000.

The appeal said that the “last seen evidence”, “impersonation” and “identification parade” had duly been proved against the respondents/accused and had been maintained concurrently by both the courts below.

Moreover, the video cassette was never challenged, which shows the committing of murder of deceased Daniel Pearl and the same was verified by Public Official (PTV expert).

In view of these collective proofs together with the clear and categorical confessional statements of respondents and the co-accused, the acquittal and modification of sentence through the impugned judgment is not sustainable and is liable to be set aside.

Similarly, the evidence of natural and independent witnesses confirmed the demand of ransom made by respondents accused, and which fact also stood proven through documentary evidence.

As such the acquittal of the respondents accused and modification of sentence to the extent of co-accused is illegal and unlawful.

The respondents, with connivance of the co-accused, acted so as to achieve nefarious designs and committed the offences, which fall under the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997 and such factum has been accepted and admitted by the SHC in its judgment but while acquitting the respondents/accused and modifying the sentence of the co-accused, the SHC has taken a glaring but contradictory view, which cannot be sustained in the eye of law and has caused serious miscarriage of justice.

The present case is a fit case for conviction in the light of the judgment in case of Bahadur vs The State (PLD 1996 SC 336).

The High Court has erred in dealing with the legal question of burden of proof as the prosecution had safely discharged the burden to prove the guilt of the accused/Respondents by producing cogent and sufficient evidence.