Pakistan’s Supreme Court has criticised the prosecution for its failure to prove the guilt of British-born al-Qaeda terrorist Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, the main accused in the sensational kidnapping and murder of US journalist Daniel Pearl in 2002, according to a media report. The apex court issued its detailed 43-page judgment on Friday, which has been authored by Justice Sardar Tariq Masood who was part of the three-member bench. Dawn newspaper reported that the judges held that the evidence furnished during the trial was full of factual and legal defects.
The judgement explains the reasons why the Supreme Court had on January 28 acquitted, by a majority of two to one, Omar Sheikh and others and ordered the release of the principal suspect as well as Fahad Nasim Ahmed, Syed Salman Saqib and Shaikh Mohammd Adil from the jail forthwith, if not required to be detained in connection with any other case. Pearl, 38, was the South Asia bureau chief of The Wall Street Journal.
His murder took place three years after Sheikh, along with Jaish-e-Mohammad chief (JeM) Masood Azhar and Mushtaq Ahmed Zargar, was released by India in 1999 and given safe passage to Afghanistan in exchange for the nearly 150 passengers of hijacked Indian Airlines Flight 814. The Sindh High Court (SHC) on April 2, 2020 commuted the death sentence of Sheikh convicted of kidnapping and murdering US journalist Pearl in 2002 to seven years and acquitted three others who were serving life terms in the case almost two decades after they were found guilty and jailed.
The SC on January 28 ordered authorities to release the accused while issuing a split order. The third member of the bench Justice Yahya Afridi did not agree with the majority view and issued a dissenting note.Justice Yahya Afridi, a member of the bench, had dissented from the majority opinion.
News Source: News18