SC seeks trial record in Daniel Pearl murder case


Khudayar Mohla –

ISLAMABAD (TLTP): While refusing to suspend operation of Sindh High Court verdict that has overturned conviction of four accused persons involved in American Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl murder, who was beheaded during 2002, the top court on Monday sought complete trial court proceedings record from the Sindh government.

The Supreme Court also pointed out error on the face of the record observing if the top court proceeds in the current matter in respond to raised questions of law in the appeal then apparently verdict of the SHC could not be suspended.

Talking to TLTP, the vice chairman Pakistan Bar Council Abid Saqi said that the top court has to examine the evidence record in the current matter before rejecting the SHC verdict, saying due to the reason the bench has adjourned the hearing.

Former President Supreme Court Bar Association Kamran Murtaza also informed that on technical grounds the top court’s bench has raised questions over recording of the evidence which provides ground to prove or disprove a matter.

During the course of proceedings, the Sindh government sought time to produce detailed record of hearing of trial court in the matter before the top court to which Justice Malik observed that the court has to examine whether the confession and identification parade of accuse persons was conducted in accordance with the law or not saying, “The facts cannot be ignored,”.

On April 2, 2020 Sindh High Court had overturned the murder conviction and death sentence of Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, the man convicted in the killing of Daniel Pearl whereas the High Court also overturned convictions of three other men connected to Pearl’s death. Just a day after the SHC announced verdict, Sindh government took custody of all the four accused persons under ‘Public Safety Act’ for 90 days and expressed intention to file appeal against suspension of operation of the SHC verdict before Supreme Court in the matter.

Consequently, Sindh government and parents of the slain journalist filed appeal before the Supreme Court against the SHC verdict to which the top court’s Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed formed a three-member bench led by Justice Mushir Alam to hear the matter.

On Monday, the Sindh government’s special prosecutor in the matter, Farooq H Naik and counsel for the Pearl’s parents Ruth Pearl and Judie Pearl advocate Faisal Siddiqui appeared before the bench seeking remedy of suspension of the SHC verdict operation in Pearl murder case.

At the outset of the hearing, the bench asked from Naik whether he has complete trial proceedings record saying the bench intended to ascertain law points of the case once have complete trial court proceedings record. However, Farooq H Naik urged the bench to hear the appeal before summoning trial court record to which a member of the bench Justice Manzoor Malik plainly observed while addressing Naik after having full trial court record the court will adjudicate the matter in hand.

Justice Malik categorically observed that first of all abduction of Daniel Pearl have to be proved in term of proving that it was the Daniel Pearl who was abducted adding the Sindh government has claimed that a conspiracy was hatched in Rawalpindi then there must be evidence what conspiracy was hatched in Rawalpindi. Later, hearing of the matter was adjourned sine die.

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