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KARACHI: The Sindh High Court (SHC) on Wednesday issued contempt notices to chief secretary and home secretary in a petition seeking to initiate contempt proceedings against the officials for blocking the release of four men accused in the Daniel Pearl murder case despite a court order.

The court issued notices to Sindh chief secretary and others in a contempt petition while Central Jail superintendent Hassan Sehto and special secretary home were present during the contempt hearing.

The court expressed its displeasure over the absence of the chief secretary and the home secretary in the case hearing.

“They don’t know contempt proceedings against them are in progress in the court,” the bench asked.

The court adjourned further hearing of the case and ordered the provincial officials to appear before the court in the next hearing of the case.

The bench summoned replies of the parties on January 20 while adjourning the hearing.

In April 2020, the high court had overturned the murder conviction of principal suspect Ahmed Omer Saeed Sheikh while acquitting Fahad Naseem, Salman Saqib and Sheikh Adil.

However, following the court verdict, the Sindh government placed them under a 90-day detention under the Maintenance of Public Order.

On July 1, a fresh notification under the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997, was issued to extend their detention by three months, and later in October their confinement was extended for another 90 days.

In December, the high court set aside the provincial government’s detention orders and ordered it to immediately release the suspects.

However, after the government failed to comply with the court order, a contempt petition was filed against the chief secretary and other officials.

The Sindh government and the family of Daniel Pearl filed appeals in the Supreme Court against the high court verdict, and the case has been under hearing in the apex court.

Meanwhile, an SHC bench on Wednesday issued notices to the Sindh chief secretary and other officials in a petition against sale of acid.

A two-judge bench, headed by Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar, heard the petition filed by an acid attack survivor, Ahmar Iqbal.

The petitioner said that acid was being sold openly across the province in violation of laws and pleaded with the court to issue directives for the respondents to stop sale of this harmful chemical.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021