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Everything You Need To Know About Daniel Pearl Case?

The gruesome abduction of Daniel Pearl

Pearl was the South Asia bureau chief for the Wall Street Journal when he was abducted in Karachi in January 2002 while researching a story about armed fighters.

Nearly a month later and after a string of ransom demands were made, a graphic video showing his decapitation was delivered to the US consulate in Karachi.

The high profile abduction drew international attention. Assailants, apart from killing him brutally, filmed Pearl’s beheading and sent it to United States officials.

Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh

Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, a 47-year-old British-Pakistani, was the prime suspect in the 2002 kidnapping and murder of a Wall Street Journal reporter. Sheikh had been involved in the kidnapping of foreigners. He was arrested days after Pearl’s abduction.
                                                                                                                                                                                       He was later sentenced to death by hanging after professing before Karachi court that Pearl had already been killed days before the video of the journalist’s abduction had been released. Earlier, a lower court acquitted Sheikh from murder charges and reduced his conviction to a lesser charge of kidnapping. The lower court also overturned his death sentence and ordered his acquittal after 20 years in prison.
                                                                                                                                                                                            In a recent decision, the panel of three judges of Pakistan’s Supreme Court rejected the series of petitions, including the petition from Pearl’s family and upheld the Sheikhs acquittal. Pearl’s father described the acquittal as a “message of impunity for would-be terrorists and would-be abductors… around the world.”
                                                                                                                                                                                         The news report from Reuters reveals that the top court had announced the acquittal of all the accused persons and ordered their release. Sheikh’s lawyer maintained that he’s been made a scapegoat for the murder and convicted on insufficient evidence.

Forced confessions and insufficient evidence

In April 2020, Sindh High Court re-examined the case after it was revealed that investigators did not follow lawful interrogation procedures. Sindh High Court citing insufficient evidence, inconsistencies in police accounts and forced confessions overturned all four men’s murder convictions. The court concluded that no evidence has been brought on record by the prosecutor to link any of the appellants to the murder of Pearl.

Biden Administration’s response

White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki called the decision regarding the release of accused in Daniel Pearl case “an affront to terror victims everywhere”. Washington previously said it would demand Sheikh be extradited to the US to be tried there.

Wall Street Journal’s editor in chief, Matt Murray, says that this is an infuriating and unjust decision. “We’ll continue to support efforts to hold to account those responsible for the brutal murder of Danny, he added.”

Recent Development

IN the backdrop of Supreme Court’s decision, the Sindh government in Pakistan has filed a petition before the top court to review its decision to free two men convicted of kidnapping and beheading US journalist Daniel Pearl.

Provincial Information Minister Nasir Shah says that Sindh government has not released Sheikh and his accomplices who were also granted acquittal.

If Sheikh and his accomplices had really been kept behind the bars for such a long time without sufficient evidence being found against them and just to please those who have reservations on his(Sheikhs) release then it has been another case of miscarriage of justice.

If the state of Pakistan is really keen to dispense the justice in Daniel Pearl Case then it should first try to comprehend the mastermind behind this dirty game. Here in our country, those who superintend such crimes of serious nature often remain at large.

About Zara Ali

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