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Defence Counsel presents arguments before SC in Pearl murder case

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Thursday heard contentions of the defence lawyer while hearing appeals against acquittal of the accused by the Sindh High Court in Daniel Pearl murder case.

A bench of the apex court headed by Justice Mushir Alam hearing appeals filed by the Sindh government and parents of Daniel Pearl.

Mehmood Shaikh advocate in his arguments said that the delay in registration of FIR required a strong reason behind it. The FIR of Daniel Pearl’s abduction was filed after a delay of 12 days, the counsel of accused said. “No reason given for this delay in filing the case.”

“All accused were subjected to illegal detention in the case,” the counsel further said.

“Ahmed Omer Saeed was accused of affiliation with a terrorist outfit in newspaper reports,” Justice Yahya Afridi remarked. “Brief the court over the issue,” Justice Afridi asked defence lawyer. “I will reply on the matter after contacting with my client,” the counsel said.

“How Ahmed Omer Saeed got a mobile phone in Jail? An answer is also on pending over it,” Justice Sardar Tariq said.

“How can a life term inmate makes a threatening phone call from jail to the president of the country,” Rae Bashir,the counsel of co-accused Salman Saqib, argued.

Salman Saqib had purchased cameras, scanner and printer from Fahad Naseem, while the purchased items have no role in the case, the counsel said.

“If any witness testified against Salman Saqib,” Justice Afridi questioned. “His name was not taken in any witness account,” counsel Rae Bashir said. “The prosecution made bundle of lies against accused,” the counsel claimed.

“Fahad Naseem was a computer expert, he had sent the email regarding Daniel Pearl,” additional prosecutor general of Sindh said. “The taxi driver in the case was not associated with the police,” the prosecutor further said.

“If the taxi driver was shown photograph of Pearl and asked about him,” Justice Afridi questioned. “Nothing on record about how the taxi driver identified,” the prosecutor said.

The court directed Sindh government to facilitate the counsel of Omer Saeed Shaikh for meeting with his client.

The bench adjourned further hearing of case until Wednesday.

Four convicts of the murder case, British national Ahmed Omer Saeed, co-accused Fahad Naseem, Salman Saqib and Sheikh Adil had moved the Sindh High Court (SHC) in 2002 challenging their convictions handed down by the Hyderabad Anti-Terrorism Court after finding them guilty of abducting and killing American Journalist Daniel Pearl.

The high court overturned the verdict of the ATC and acquitted the convicts on April 02, 2020.

The 38-year-old South Asia bureau chief of The Wall Street Journal, Daniel Pearl, was researching for a story on religious extremists in January 2002 in Karachi, when he was abducted and slain.



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