SC asks Sindh govt to satisfy on each point of SHC verdict
TERENCE J SIGAMONY
ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed the Sindh government to satisfy on each point of the Sindh High Court (SHC) judgment, wherein, the accused allegedly involved in the murder of Daniel Pearl were acquitted.
Farooq H Naek, Special Prosecutor General, Sindh argued that the SHC had rendered judgment on seven points, including murder, kidnapping, recovery of body, and conspiracy surrounding the killing of the bureau chief of Wall Street Journal in Pakistan. He contended the SHC had ignored the findings of trial court on these aspects.
A three-judge bench, headed by Justice Mushir Alam, heard the Sindh government and the Daniel Pearl’s parents’ appeals against the SHC verdict to acquit Daniel Pearl’s alleged murderers.
The Supreme Court again declined the prosecution plea to suspend the SHC’s verdict, saying how they could suspend the judgment, when leave to appeal has not been granted yet.
The bench directed Farooq H Naek to submit synopsis of his arguments by September 19th.
Justice Manzoor Malik questioned how they would know that the person who was abducted and killed was Daniel Pearl.
Who the witness is that said Daniel Pearl was abducted by the accused?
The special prosecutor replied taxi driver, Nasir Abbas, in his statement told that he dropped Daniel has confirmed it.
Justice Manzoor said according to the statement of the taxi driver, a white man was abducted, adding there were many white men in the city.
How they would know that white man was Daniel Pearl.
Farooq H Naek said how the taxi driver would know the name.
He said, before his abduction, Daniel Pearl met Omer Saeed Sheikh in a hotel in Islamabad.
Justice Qazi Muhammad Ameen Ahmed said they had to examine the case of Daniel Pearl’s murder in totality of the circumstances, and the jurisprudence developed by this court.
The counsel requested the bench to fix the case before September 30, as the detention orders of the accused would expire on that date.
The bench referred the matter to the chief justice to fix the case before September 30.
Daniel Pearl was killed in Karachi in January, 2002.
His wife Mariane Pearl on 04.02.2002 had filed an FIR at Artillery Maidan Police Station Karachi.
Trial Court on 15-07-2002 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 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 in the SHC.
A Division of the High Court, Karachi, heard the appeals together and delivered the judgment on 02-04-2020 acquitted the accused.
It also held that the subject case does not fall within the purview of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997, and Omer Sheikh is entitled to both remissions in accordance with law and the benefit of Section 382-B, Criminal Procedure Code, 1898. The Sindh prosecution on April 22, 20 filed an appeal under Article 185(3) of Constitution in the Supreme Court, while the Daniel’s parents – Ruth Pearl and Judea Pearl–on May 2 filed the constitutional petition.
It is their stance that the SHC wrongly held that the convictions and sentences awarded by the trial court to the respondents No 2 to 4 and Ahmed Omer Shaikh could not be sustained on the basis of the standard of proof, meaning that the prosecution has not been able to prove the case against the accused persons beyond reasonable doubt, and the benefit of doubt must go to the accused persons.
They have submitted that these facts are admitted, first, the deceased person was abducted.
Second, the deceased person was abducted/kidnapped for ransom as ransom emails were received and recovered.
However, what is denied by the respondents No 2 to 4 and Ahmed Omer Shaikh is their role in sending the ransom emails but not the fact that the ransom emails were actually received.
Third, the deceased person was brutally murdered by way of beheading.