SC orders Sindh government to shift Daniel murder accused from jail to rest house

ISLAMABAD – The Supreme Court of Pakistan Tuesday ordered the Sindh government to shift Ahmed Omer Sheikh and other accused persons of Daniel Pearl murder case from Karachi jail to rest houses.

A three-member bench of the apex court headed by Justice Umar Ata Bandial and comprising Justice Sajjad Ali Shah and Justice Muneeb Akhtar conducted hearing of the Sindh government request to grant stay against the Sindh High Court (SHC) order to release Omer Sheikh and others.

It was January 28 when the apex court with 2-1 majority decision dismissed the appeals of Sindh government and Daniel Pearl’s parents and ordered to release the accused including Ahmed Omer Shaikh, Fahad Nasim Ahmed, Syed Salman Saqib and Shaikh Muhammad Adil.

During the hearing, Advocate General Sindh Salman Talib-ud-Din informed that two days would be required to make arrangements and to shift the accused in rest houses. He said till that time the detainees would be kept outside the solitary confinement in a comfortable place within the jail. The court accepted his plea, but said after that they should be shifted in the rest houses.

The court said that the families of the detainees are provided comfortable accommodation till the time they are kept in the rest houses so they could meet with them from 9am to 5pm in peaceful environment. The phone and internet services will not be available to the accused.

The attorney general sought time to file an appeal against the Sindh High Court order and to make submission on the Article 10(9) of Constitution. The advocate general apprised that he had filed the petition against the SHC order and the converted it into appeal and leave has been granted. He said that his appeal should be fixed and taken up for arguments next week.

During the proceedings, the attorney general contended that if is feared that the detainees after their release would disappear or to be taken away so there is need to keep them in the custody. The court said that after the Supreme Court order the detainees are entitled to be freed.

The attorney general citing the Supreme Court judgment in the Rawalpindi case argued that with the lapse of the statute the ground realities have not changed. He said that there is no personal vendetta against the accused but due to ground realities stay should be granted against the SHC order.

Justice Muneeb Akhtar remarked that they are not denying the realities. However, he said that they (judge) are bound by the Constitution. He said that as per the government the detainees will disappear, but added that the Constitution will not disappear. He said that in 18 years and even after the SC order the accused have not disappeared then how they will disappear now.

Justice Sajjad Ali Shah said that the Sindh government has detained the accused one month without detention order. Justice Bandial directed the AG Sindh to prepare on the issue of ‘Enemy Alien’. He said that the bench did not have the history of the accused, as the attorney general has argued that Omer Sheikh is renowned terrorist.

Earlier, the attorney general had argued that Omer Sheikh is the graduate from London School of Economics. He has impressed people’s mind with terror.

Later, the case was deferred for the third week of February for further proceedings.

Newspaper: The Nation