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Daniel Pearl case: SC to hear review petition on Feb 1

ISLAMABAD: Supreme Court of Pakistan will hear the review petition filed by the Sindh government against the acquittal of the prime suspect in the murder case of American journalist Daniel Pearl.

A three-member bench of the Supreme Court headed by Justice Umar Atta Bandial will hear the petition on February 1 (Monday). Justice Sajjad Ali Shah and Justice Muneeb Akhtar will be the members of the bench.

A day earlier, the Sindh government moved a petition in the Supreme Court seeking review of its decision upholding the acquittal and ordering the release of the prime suspect Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh in the murder case.

The lawyers filed a last-ditch attempt to overturn the acquittal of the prime suspect accused of masterminding the murder of the journalist. The Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed an appeal against the Sindh High Court’s (SHC) decision to acquit Sheikh Omar and three others over the killing after nearly two decades in jail.

Fiaz Shah, prosecutor general for Sindh government, said they had lodged a review of the verdict at the Supreme Court in the capital Islamabad. He said the petition was filed to seek a review and request the court to recall the order of acquittal.

READ MORE: US outraged as Supreme Court upholds acquittal in Daniel Pearl murder

A three-member bench headed by Justice Mushir Alam and comprising Justice Sardar Tariq Masood and Justice Yahya Afridi ordered that Sheikh Omar, Fahad Naseem Ahmed, Salman Saqib and Sheikh Muhammad Adil be released forthwith. One member of the bench opposed the decision. The bench ruled that it will issue a detailed verdict later on.

The suspects had moved the SHC in 2002 challenging their convictions handed down by the 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 convicts on April 2, 2020. Subsequently, the Sindh government filed an appeal in the Supreme Court challenging their acquittal.

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