Islamabad, October 22
Pakistan’s apex court on Thursday adjourned for four weeks the hearing of an appeal against the acquittal of British-born al-Qaeda leader Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh and his three aides—the main accused in the abduction and murder of US journalist Daniel Pearl.
The Supreme Court took up the appeal by the family of the slain journalist against the acquittal of Sheikh, who had been on death row since his conviction in 2002.
Faisal Siddiqi, the lawyer who is representing Pearl’s family, told the media that the court adjourned the hearing as government lawyer Farooq Naek was not available due to some health issues.
However, Siddiqi expressed surprise at the four tenure of adjournment.
In April, a two-judge Sindh High Court bench commuted the death sentence of 46-year-old Sheikh, who was convicted in the abduction and murder of Pearl in 2002, to seven years. The court also acquitted his three aides who were serving life terms in the case – almost two decades after they were found guilty and jailed.
Two days after the Sindh High Court overturned Sheikh’s conviction, the Sindh government invoked the Maintenance of Public Order to keep the four convicts in jail.
The Sindh government filed an appeal in the Supreme Court against the high court verdict. Pearl’s parents also filed an appeal to the Supreme Court against the judgment of the high court to release the accused.
Pearl, the 38-year-old South Asia bureau chief for The Wall Street Journal, was abducted and beheaded while he was in Pakistan investigating a story in 2002 on the alleged links between the country’s powerful spy agency ISI and al-Qaeda.
Though exonerated by the court, the Sindh government has refused to set Sheikh free citing that he could pose a threat to public order. PTI
Source From : Tribune India