ISLAMABAD – The Supreme Court of Pakistan, on Monday, will start hearing on appeals against the Sindh High Court judgment to acquit the accused involved in murder of Daniel Pearl, Bureau Chief of Wall Street Journal in Pakistan.
On April 2, the SHC acquitted Adil Sheikh, Salman Saqib and Fahad Nasim and modified the sentence of Ahmed Omer Saeed Sheikh and convicted him under Section 362 PPC and sentenced him to 07 years RI with a fine of Rs.2 million.
Daniel Pearl was killed in Karachi in January, 2002. His wife Mariane Pearl on 04.02.2002 had filed an FIR at Artillery Maidan Police Station Karachi. Trial Court on 15-07-2002 convicted Ahmad Omer Saeed Sheikh and awarded him death sentence, while Adil Sheikh, Salman Saqib and Fahad Nasim were given life imprisonment under Section 7 of Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997.
The convicts challenged the sentence in the Sindh High Court. The State also filed Special Anti Terrorism appeal for enhancement of sentence of life imprisonment awarded to Adil Sheikh, Salman Saqib and Fahad Nasim in the SHC. A Division of the High Court, Karachi, heard the appeals together and acquitted the accused. It also held that the subject case did not fall within the purview of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997 and Omer Sheikh was entitled to both remissions in accordance with law and the benefit of Section 382-B, Criminal Procedure Code, 1898.
The Sindh prosecution on April 22, filed an appeal under Article 185(3) of Constitution in the Supreme Court, while the Daniel’s parents on May 2 filed the constitution petition.
Daniel’s parents maintained in their petition that the SHC in the impugned judgment had wrongly held that the convictions and sentences awarded by the trial court to the respondents No.2 to 4 and Ahmed Omer Shaikh could not be sustained on the basis of the standard of proof, meaning that the prosecution had not been able to prove the case against the accused persons beyond reasonable doubt and the benefit of doubt must go to the accused persons.
They submitted that these facts were admitted that firstly, the deceased was abducted. Secondly, the deceased was abducted/kidnapped for ransom as ransom emails were received and recovered. However, what was denied by the respondents No.2 to 4 and Ahmed Omer Shaikh was their role in sending the ransom emails but not the fact that the ransom emails were actually received. Thirdly, the deceased was brutally murdered by way of beheading.
They further submitted that a bare reading of the impugned judgment made it evident that the Impugned Judgment created an artificial distinction between the offences of kidnapping for ransom and abduction in the facts of this case.