Sindh govt told to file complete report with appeal in Pearl case

Updated Jun 02 2020

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SC urges counsel for slain journalist’s parents to gather complete record of case history. — Dawn archives
SC urges counsel for slain journalist’s parents to gather complete record of case history. — Dawn archives

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court has asked the Sindh government to furnish a complete report comprising all evidence along with its appeal which has challenged the Sindh High Court’s (SHC) April 2 decision of overturning the conviction of Ahmed Omer Saeed Sheikh for allegedly kidnapping and killing Daniel Pearl — the slain journalist of The Wall Street Journal.

Headed by Justice Mushir Alam, a three-judge SC bench on Monday also asked senior counsel Faisal Siddiqui, representing Ruth and Judea Pearl — the mother and father of the slain reporter — to prepare and complete the record of the entire case history in all aspects.

SC urges counsel for slain journalist’s parents to gather complete record of case history

Justice Manzoor Ahmed also asked Farooq H. Naek, who was representing the Sindh government, as well as Prosecutor General Sindh Dr Fiaz Shah, to complete the paper book by furnishing all documents since many documents were missing.

Justice Ahmed also stated that the State had to prove through evidence that the slain journalist was abducted, as well as the conspiracy behind his kidnapping was hatched and the evidence that he was murdered by the accused.

The State will also have to satisfy the court whether the trial court had ever awarded sentence under Section 302 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) which deals with murder as well as Section 120 PPC that deals with the punishment for hatching conspiracy.

The State will also show whether these provisions were ever challenged before the SHC or not, Justice Ahmed observed.

The court is seized with three appeals by the Sindh government and two independent appeals by the parents of Daniel Pearl against the acquittal of Omer Shaikh and three others. The matter to be adjudicated was whether to admit these appeals and grant leave to appeal, whether to suspend the high court judgement of releasing the accused and whether to allow the parents to separately pursue their appeals in this case.

The court is likely to resume the hearing after the court vacations which usually end in the first week of October.

Referring to suspension of the sentence, Faisal Siddiqui explained that since there was no substantive hearing or decision, it was common that the Supreme Court in capital punishment cases only conducts a substantive hearing after the complete record was before it. Therefore, it is clarified that neither any verbal nor written request for suspension of judgement was rejected by the Supreme Court, he explained.

Daniel Pearl, 38, was the South Asia Bureau Chief for The Wall Street Journal. He was abducted in Karachi in January 2002.

Later, a graphic video showing his decapitation was delivered to the US consulate after a month of his abduction.

Published in Dawn, June 2nd, 2020