The Supreme Court on Tuesday heard the appeal cases against the acquittal of the murders convicted in the Daniel Pearl case. The hearing will resume tomorrow, on Wednesday.
The case was heard today by a 3-member bench headed by Justice Musheer Alam.
During the hearing, Justice Tariq Masood said that Prosecution witness did not accept that the conspiracy to kidnap Daniel Pearl was planned in front of him.
Special Prosecutor of Sindh Court, Farooq H Naek reiterated this, saying: “This is an accepted fact that the conspiracy to kidnap Daniel Pearl was not done in front of the witness.”
“The accusation against the culprits is that they hatched the conspiracy to murder,” said Justice Tariq Masood.
According to Justice Musheer Alam, there is no witness against Omer Sheikh, the primary accused.
Advocate Farook H Naek said that Sheikh changed him name and used an alias for meeting Pearl. He also read the statement of Asif Mahmood Farooqi, the journalist associated with Japanese News Agency. Farooqi was cross-examined, said Advocate Naek.
“The witness in the cross examination stated that he did not know whether Daniel Pearl was working for CIA or Mossad,” he said. “He also maintained that he had no idea if Daniel Pearl was in Pakistan to collect Dawood Ibrahim’s information.”
“This is not true that USA would want to hurt religiously inclined people in Pakistan,” Advocate Naek added.
Advocate Farooq Naek pleaded to the court that Omar Sheikh indeed was the person behind the conspiracy to kidnap the Wall Street Journal journalist. He maintained that the kidnapping of Daniel Pearl was a strain of international terrorism.
To justify his argument, Advocate Naek claimed that Omar Saeed Sheikh, in his own statetment, had said that the “Pakistani government wanted to hand him (Omar Sheikh) over to the US government.”
According to Advocate Naek, “Omar Sheikh said that had this happened, the US would have met the same fate as India did.” The Advocate said that Sheikh in his statement was apparently mentioning the hijack of the Indian airline plane which led to his release. Citing Sheikh’s own statement, Advocate Farooq Naek maintained that this was evidence enough of international terrorism and collaborators.
American journalist Daniel Pearl was beheaded in Pakistan in 2002. His killers, including Omer Sheikh and three others, were convicted to death or life imprisonment. However, all killers were acquitted by the Sindh High Court in April 2020.
This acquittal is currently being appealed separately by the government and by Pearl’s family in the Supreme Court, with the next hearing scheduled for December 3.