The Pakistan Supreme Court on Monday denied to suspend the April 2nd order of the Sindh High Court (SHC), which set aside the death sentence of the prime accused in the Daniel Pearl murder case.
Pearl was South Asia bureau chief for The Wall Street Journal when he was abducted in Karachi in January 2002 while researching a story about religious extremism. He was later murdered.
The kidnapped journalist’s death was confirmed when a graphic video showing his decapitation was delivered to the US consulate nearly a month later.
The Sindh government moved the Supreme Court with plea to suspend the Sindh High Court’s judgement. On April 2, the SHC had commuted the death sentence of Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh – the man convicted of Pearl’s kidnapping and murdering in 2002 – to a seven-year sentence.
It had also acquitted three others who had been awarded life imprisonment in the case.
During the hearing, Justice Manzoor Malik said the petition seeking suspension of the judgment cites irrelevant provisions, reports The Express Tribune.
“First of all, the kidnapping of Daniel Pearl must be proved,” Justice Malik said.
“Evidence must prove that the abductee was Daniel Pearl. The Sindh government claims that a conspiracy was hatched in Rawalpindi. What conspiracy took place in Rawalpindi must also be proved with evidence.”
The apex court ordered the counsel representing the provincial government to submit the detailed record before the court for the case to be further heard. The hearing was then adjourned indefinitely.
The Sindh government had sought time to submit the record of the trial court.
The SHC’s order came almost two decades after the accused were found guilty and subsequently jailed, said The Express Tribune report.
The slain journalist’s parents had approached the Supreme Court against the High Court verdict. Two criminal petitions had been filed by renowned lawyer Faisal Siddiqi on behalf of Pearl’s parents against the acquittal and release of the four accused.