KARACHI: Media watchdogs have expressed concern over the Sindh High Court’s ruling in the Daniel Pearl murder case, saying it will stand as a symbol of impunity for crimes of violence against journalists in Pakistan.
In a statement released on Thursday, The Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemned the ‘incoherent decision’ by the SHC, commuting the death sentence awarded to the mastermind of US reporter Pearl’s murder to seven years in prison.
As Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, the mastermind of the 2002 murder, had been imprisoned for the past 18 years, the seven-year sentence meant he would now be released.
The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) also expressed concern over the verdict. A joint statement issued by PFUJ president Shahzada Zulfiqar and secretary general Nasir Zaidi pointed out the timing of this decision when the world was gripped by coronavirus.
“Announcing the decision at such a critical time will bring a bad name for Pakistan which is struggling on many fronts including virus,” the PFUJ pointed out. It said the country’s prosecution system needed to be revisited so that murderers could be brought to justice strictly as per law.