KARACHI: The Sindh High Court is set to announce its verdict on Thursday (today) on the appeals filed by four convicts in the abduction and murder case of American journalist Daniel Pearl.

A two-judge SHC bench headed by Justice Mohammad Karim Khan Agha had reserved the judgement last month on the convicts’ appeals, pending for the past 18 years, and an appeal of the state seeking enhancement of the sentence after hearing arguments and examining the record and proceedings of the case.

An antiterrorism court had sentenced to death prime accused Ahmed Omer Saeed Sheikh, commonly known as Shaikh Omar, and life term to co-accused Fahad Naseem, Salman Saqib and Sheikh Adil for the abduction of the slain journalist.

Shaikh Omar and other convicts had moved the SHC in 2002 challenging their convictions handed down by the Hyderabad ATC after finding them guilty of abducting and killing Pearl, the 38-year-old South Asia bureau chief of The Wall Street Journal who was researching a story on religious extremists, in January 2002 in Karachi.

Hashim, Asim alias Qasim, Hassan, Ahmed Bhai, Imtiaz Siddiqui and Amjad Farooqui had been declared proclaimed offenders by the trial court.

The lawyers for the appellants, Rai Bashir and Khawaja Naveed Ahmed, submitted that the prosecution had miserably failed to prove its case against their clients beyond any reasonable doubt and prosecution witnesses were mostly policemen and their testimonies could not be relied upon.

They further contended that the recovery of a laptop computer with e-mails and messages foisted on appellants Naseem and Adil Sheikh, and their confessions before a judicial magistrate were defective and not voluntary.

They argued the recovery of the laptop computer was shown from appellant Naseem on Feb 11, 2002 while computer expert Ronald Joseph had deposed that he was given the computer for verification on Feb 4 and he examined the laptop for six days and such evidence could not be relied upon and requested the court to set aside the conviction.

Deputy Prosecutor Gene­ral Saleem Akhtar supported the trial court’s verdict and submitted that the prosecution had proved its case aga­inst the appellants bey­ond a shadow of doubt and reque­sted the court to dismiss the appeals.

Published in Dawn, April 2nd, 2020

Opinion

Chained to the rivers
Updated 18 Jan 2021

Chained to the rivers

There are many state actors who must shoulder the blame for their present condition.
Brave new world
18 Jan 2021

Brave new world

Covid-19 is bringing about a reassessment of the role of markets.
The war comes home
18 Jan 2021

The war comes home

The Capitol riots included several former members of the US military.

Editorial

Updated 18 Jan 2021

More ignominy for PIA

Decades of mismanagement, nepotism and political opportunism were bound to take their toll.
18 Jan 2021

Agriculture woes

AGRICULTURE is the lifeline of Pakistan’s economy. It is a source of livelihood for two-thirds of the country’s...
18 Jan 2021

Internet access

AS the Covid-19 pandemic rages on, and shows few signs of dissipating, one of the many lessons policymakers should ...
Updated 17 Jan 2021

Foreign funding case

THE Election Commission of Pakistan has summoned both the PML-N and PPP on Monday in connection with the foreign...
17 Jan 2021

Vaccine procurement

ALL eyes are on the government as it pledges to roll out the Covid-19 vaccination programme to about 80m citizens by...
17 Jan 2021

Makli ‘renovation’

THERE are fears that the recently conducted ‘renovation’ work carried out at the Makli necropolis may rob the...