SC grants appeal in Daniel Pearl murder case for preliminary hearing

ISLAMABAD: A Supreme Court bench on Monday approved appeals of the Sindh government and others for preliminary hearing against the Sindh High Court’s (SHC) decision of overturning the conviction in the American journalist Daniel Pearl murder case.

A bench of the apex court, headed by Justice Mushir Alam, took up appeals by the provincial
government and the family of Daniel Pearl against the acquittal of the convicts.

The court issued notices to parties over the plea of suspending the acquittal decision of the
high court.

The bench also prevented the Sindh government from release of the accused till the next hearing
of the case and issued a notice to the provincial government over a petition of accused Omer
Saeed Sheikh.

The court also approved the petition of the parents of slain journalist to be a party in the
case and adjourned hearing of the case till Wednesday.

Earlier, Faisal Siddiqui, the counsel of Pearl’s family, in his arguments pleaded for
restoration of the trial court’s decision in the case. “The evidence shows that Daniel Pearl
was kidnapped for ransom,” Siddiqui argued.

He said the court’s question with regard to conspiracy factor was genuine, as the confessional
statements of two accused also prove it.

Justice Qazi Ameen, a member of the bench, earlier told government of Sindh counsel Farooq H
Naek, to present the case facts in a sequence adding that the high court decision could not be
overturned over hypotheses.

Naek, in his arguments said that an email dated January 23, 2002 referred Danial
Pearl’s kidnapping for ransom. A taxi driver Nasir Abbas identified the accused before a
magistrate. Key accused Omer Saeed Sheikh was arrested on February 13, 2002.

Charges were framed against the accused on April 22, 2002, the government counsel said.

An anti-terrorism court of Hyderabad, had awarded death sentence to key accused Omer Saeed
Sheikh on July 15 in 2002, on the charges of kidnapping and killing the US journalist, while
his three accomplices Fahad Naseem, Syed Salman Saqib and Sheikh Muhammad Adil were handed life sentence with a fine of Rs 600,000 each.

The ATC had also directed the convicts to pay Rs two million to the victim’s widow, Marianne
Pearl.

The state had filed an appeal seeking the life terms of three convicts to be converted in death
sentence.

Daniel Pearl, a reporter of The Wall Street Journal, went missing in Karachi in January 2002
while he was working on a story. He was later found to be abducted and beheaded.