The Supreme Court (SC) has adjourned the hearing of Daniel Pearl case till tomorrow as Omer Sheikh’s lawyer didn’t file a bail petition.

Today SC continued with the appeal hearing against the acquittal of the accused in Daniel Pearl’s kidnapping and murder case today. The consul of the Pearl Family, Faisal Siddiqui, continued with his set of arguments on witnesses present. The hearing was then adjourned until tomorrow.

One of the accused, Fahad Naseem, did not give any statement under police pressure, argued Faisal Siddiqui. The accused had said infront of the magistrate that his life is in danger, therefore he is not giving the statement, he elaborated.

“If any accused gives a statement to save themselves, then what would the impression of such a statement be?” Justice Sardar Tariq Masood asked.

Mehmood A Sheikh, the lawyer of Omar Sheikh and others accused, pleaded for court orders seeking the release of all accused.

“Why didn’t you put in a request to the Supreme Court seeking the release?” Justice Tariq Masood ased him.

Yesterday, the jail superintendent contacted the Supreme Court contacted the SC on the matter of the release of the accused, Mehmood A Sheikh said. Competent authorities after their contact, therefore I didn’t file an application.

On this Justice Tariq Maqsoof said, “You have wasted one day, we can consider this only if you can file a bail application.”

The Sindh government has cited the SC’s September 28 ruling which called for the suspension of the High Court verdict to release the accused “until next hearing.” The next hearing took place on October 7.

However, the renewal was not granted on October 7, said Mehmood Sheikh, Omar Sheikh’s lawyer in the hearing yesterday.

Justice Yahya Afridi said that in case law, “until next hearing” is interpreted as “until the final hearing.”

“If you have anything on this matter, please file a separate petition and bring things on record,” added Justice Musheer Alam.

Today, the Supreme Court is expected to pass a ruling clarifying its September 28 interim order to not release the accused. The ruling would clarify whether Omer Sheikh and others would be released from police custody or not.

Daniel Pearl, an American journalist serving as Wall Street Journal’s Pakistan bureau chief, was beheaded in Pakistan in 2002. Four accused in the murder case were, including Omer Saeed Sheikh, were convicted to death or life imprisonment. However, all accused were acquitted by the Sindh High Court in April 2020. The acquittal is currently being appealed in the Supreme Court by Pearl’s parents, Ruth and Judea Pearl, as well as the Sindh government.

On December 24, the Sindh High Court (SHC) issued an order to immedietely release the accused from police custody, and to place them on the Exit Control List. The court cited the lack of legal grounds to keep the suspects in custody, after the Sindh Government had twice extended its notification to keep the four accused detained for “public safety.” The SHC has deemed this notification void because it does not mention the primary accused, Omar Shaikh’s association with any terrorist organization. Consequently, a review application for this verdict was filed at the Supreme Court by the Sindh Government against the Sindh High Court.


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