ISLAMABAD: Amid mounting strain from the US and the UN, the Pakistan authorities has mentioned it could formally join the review proceedings initiated by the Sindh administration in opposition to the Supreme Court’s acquittal of British-born al-Qaeda terrorist Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh and his three aides in the brutal murder of US journalist Daniel Pearl.
Pearl, the 38-year-old South Asia bureau chief for The Wall Street Journal, was kidnapped and beheaded whereas he was in Pakistan investigating a narrative in 2002 on the hyperlinks between the nation’s highly effective spy company ISI and al-Qaeda.
The Supreme Court on Thursday ordered the discharge of primary accused Sheikh and his aides – Fahad Naseem, Sheikh Adil and Salman Saqib – by dismissing appeals in opposition to their acquittal by the Sindh High Court.
The judgement was denounced by Pearl’s household as “an entire travesty of justice”.
The Sindh authorities on Friday filed a review petition in the apex court docket in opposition to the acquittal of Sheikh and his three accomplices.
A spokesman of the Attorney General of Pakistan on Saturday introduced that the federal authorities will file an applicable utility earlier than the apex court docket to be allowed to join as a celebration in the proceedings and additional search review and recall of the court docket’s January 28 judgement.
The federal authorities will file an utility for the structure of a bigger bench to hear the review petitions.
In cooperation with the provincial authorities, the federal authorities will proceed to take all authorized steps to convey the perpetrators of this heinous crime to justice in accordance with the regulation, the spokesman mentioned.
The announcement got here after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke to Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi over cellphone and mentioned the accountability of convicted terrorists chargeable for the brutal murder of Pearl.
Blinken additionally expressed “deep concern” over the apex court docket’s judgement.
The Pakistan Foreign Office in an announcement mentioned Qureshi underscored that it was vital and in the mutual curiosity that justice is served by way of authorized means.
According to some media experiences, the Supreme Court would hear the review petition on February 1.
However, no formal announcement has been made as but.
Expressing concern over the acquittal of these concerned in the brutal murder of Pearl, a senior UN official representing Secretary-General Antonio Guterres mentioned that it will be significant that there’s accountability for such crimes.
“What is vital that there be accountability for these crimes dedicated,” mentioned Stephane Dujarric mentioned on Friday.
The US additionally has been mounting strain on Pakistan, demanding justice for Pearl.
Last month, the US mentioned it’s prepared to take custody of Sheikh, asserting that Washington won’t enable him to evade justice.
Acting Attorney General Monty Wilkinson mentioned the US was deeply involved by the ruling affirming the acquittal of people convicted by a Pakistani trial court docket.
“The launch of these concerned can be an affront to Daniel Pearl’s household, to different terrorism victims world wide, and to the trigger of justice,” Wilkinson mentioned.
In a tweet, Congressman Brad Sherman mentioned: “The killers of Daniel Pearl go free. And Dr. Afridi, who helped the US get Osama Bin Laden, rots in jail.”
“We are deeply disenchanted that Pakistan’s Supreme Court has acquitted and ordered the discharge of Ahmad Saeed Omar Sheikh, regardless of overwhelming proof of Sheikh’s involvement in the kidnapping of Daniel Pearl, which led immediately to his murder,” mentioned Steven Butler, Committee to Protect Journalist’s Asia programme coordinator.
In April 2020, a two-judge Sindh High Court bench commuted the loss of life sentence of 46-year-old Sheikh to seven years imprisonment.
The court docket additionally acquitted his three aides who have been serving life phrases in the case — nearly twenty years after they have been discovered responsible and jailed.
The Sindh authorities and the household of Pearl filed petitions in the apex court docket, difficult the excessive court docket verdict.
The Sindh authorities invoked the Maintenance of Public Order (MPO) Ordinance 1960 to maintain the 4 males below detention.
Their steady detention was challenged in the Sindh High Court (SHC), which on December 24 directed safety companies not to maintain Sheikh and different accused below “any kind of detention” and declared all notifications of the Sindh authorities associated to their detention “null and void”.
The order elicited a right away response from the US, which on December 25 expressed its “deep issues” over the SHC order.
The US State Department mentioned it’s going to proceed to monitor any developments in the case and can proceed to help the Pearl household “by way of this extraordinarily tough course of” whereas honouring the legacy of the “brave journalist”.
Sheikh in a handwritten letter to the SHC in 2019 admitted his restricted involvement in the killing of Pearl.
The letter was offered to the Supreme Court almost two weeks in the past and Sheikh’s lawyer on Wednesday confirmed the letter.
The accused, nonetheless, did not clarify the character of his function which he mentioned was “simply minor”.
Pearl’s murder happened three years after Sheikh, together with Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar and Mushtaq Ahmed Zargar, was launched by India in 1999 and given protected passage to Afghanistan in change for the almost 150 passengers of hijacked Indian Airlines Flight 814.
He was serving a jail time period in India for kidnappings of Western vacationers in the nation.