WASHINGTON: The United States has voiced deep concern over the Sindh High Court’s (SHC) ruling on December 24 which declared the detention of the accused in the Daniel Pearl Case illegal and ordered their immediate release.
“We are deeply concerned by the reports of the December 24 ruling of Sindh High Court to release multiple terrorists responsible for the murder of Daniel Pearl,” said a statement issued by the US State Department’s Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs.
The statement said that we have been assured that the accused have not been released at this time.
“We understand that this case is ongoing and will be following closely. We continue to stand with the Pearl family through this extremely difficult process,” the statement said.
“We continue to honor Daniel Pearl’s legacy as a courageous journalist,” it added.
In its ruling, a two-judge SHC bench led by Justice Muhammad Karim Khan Agha observed that the provincial authorities remained unable to produce justified reasons for the continuous detention of five accused in the Case namely Ahmed Omer Saeed Sheikh, Fahad Naseem, Salman Saqib and Sheikh Adil; therefore, they be released immediately.
The bench also directed security agencies not to keep Omer Sheikh and other accused under “any sort of detention” and declared all notifications of the Sindh government related to their detention “null and void”.
Daniel Pearl was an American journalist working for The Wall Street Journal in Pakistan. In January 2002, he was abducted in Karachi and subsequently murdered.
Later, the prime suspect Omer Saeed Sheikh was arrested and sentenced to death by an Anti-Terrorism Court in Hyderabad while the three other men were sentenced to life imprisonment for helping him.
But on April 2, 2020, the SHC removed the murder charge against Omer Sheikh and turned his death sentence to seven-year imprisonment for kidnapping the journalist.
The High Court also acquitted the three other accused.