The Supreme Court (SC) of Pakistan will hear the federal and Sindh government’s petition in chambers against the release of Omar Saeed Sheikh in the Daniel Pearl murder case, upon the request of the petitioner. The hearing will take place at 12:30 pm today in camera, without media and public access.

This was decided in a public hearing at the Supreme Court today, where the court heard the Sindh government’s petition against Sindh High Court’s orders of the release of Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh in the Daniel Pearl murder case. A three-member bench headed by Justice Umar Ata Bandial heard the case.

During the hearing, Advocate General Sindh requested that the apex court hear the case in chambers. “We would like to do some submissions in the chamber,” he said.

“We will listen to this case in chambers at 12:30 pm,” said Justice Umar Ata Bandial

The court allowed the numbering of the Federal government’s petition to become a party in the case, and the case was adjourned until 12:30 pm today.

The case

Daniel Pearl, an American journalist heading the Wall Street Journal’s Pakistan bureau in 2002, was beheaded and mutilated after being allegedly kidnapped by the accused. Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh (known as Omar Sheikh), Fahad Nasim Ahmed, Syed Salman Saqib, and Sheikh Muhammad Adil were sentenced to death or life imprisonment on charges of kidnapping Pearl and conspiring in his murder. However, the Sindh High Court acquitted all four in April 2020. This acquittal was appealed by Pearl’s parents and the Sindh government in the Supreme Court.

In December 2020, the SHC ordered the immediate release of the accused—citing lack of legal grounds to keep them detained—leading to “deep concern” expressed by the United States. Meanwhile, a contempt of court case was heard in the Sindh High Court against the authorities withholding the release.

The Supreme Court’s order on Thursday upheld the order of the Sindh High Court, dismissing the appeals and calling for the immediate release of accused.

The federal government and the Sindh government filed review petitions against the SC’s judgement.

The Attorney General and Advocate General Sindh presented their arguments in the Supreme Court on behalf of the federal and the Sindh government on February 2. The Supreme Court rejected the Sindh government’s plea seeking interim orders against Omar Sheikh’s release as ordered by the Sindh High Court. The case was adjourned for three weeks.

The Supreme Court will resume hearing the federal and Sindh government’s petitions in chambers today.


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