Pearl case does not fall in terrorism category, SC told

Lawyer for accused says FIR was lodged after a delay of 12 days


Our Correspondent January 21, 2021
Slain American journalist Daniel Pearl. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

ISLAMABAD:

A lawyer for the accused in the Daniel Pearl murder case told the Supreme Court that the case did not fall in the category of terrorism as per the apex court orders, as the hearing of the appeals against a high court ruling in the case continued on Thursday.

A three-member larger bench, headed by Justice Mushir Alam and including Justice Yahya Khan Afridi and Justice Sardar Tariq Masood, sought arguments on terrorism charges before adjourning the case until Wednesday.

During the hearing on Thursday, Rai Bashir, the counsel for accused Salman Saqib, started arguments. He pointed out that the prosecution alleged that Salman Saqib went with Fahad Naseem and bought cameras, scanners and printers but the purchased items had no role in the case.

Justice Yahya Afridi asked whether any witness testified against Salman Saqib. Bashir replied that Salman Saqib's name was not mentioned in any witness statement, adding that the prosecution fabricated lies against the accused.

Bashir told the court that the present case did not fall under the category of terrorism as per orders of the Supreme Court. However, additional prosecutor general of Sindh said that Fahad Naseem was a computer expert and that he sent email about Pearl.

Earlier, Mahmood A Sheikh, counsel for the accused Omar Ahmed Sheikh, said that in any case solid reasons had to be given for a delay in registration of the case. However, he pointed out, the FIR of Pearl’s abduction was registered 12 days late but no reasons were given for the delay.

He told the court that all the accused in this case had been detained illegally. Justice Yahya Khan Afridi said that national newspapers had accused that Omar Sheikh belonged to a terrorist organisation. The lawyer replied that he would give arguments on this question after contacting his client.

Justice Sardar Tariq Masood asked how the accused Omar Ahmed Sheikh got a mobile phone in jail. The lawyers quipped how was it possible for a convict to make a threatening phone call to the president of the country.

Later, the court directed the Sindh government to facilitate the lawyer of Omar Ahmed Sheikh to meet his client in jail. The court also directed the lawyer to give arguments on terrorism charges after contacting his client.

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