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ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court again asked the defence counsel to make a submission on the letter allegedly written by the main accused, Ahmad Omer Saeed Sheikh, from the jail to the registrar Sindh High Court (SHC).

A three-judge SC bench, headed by Justice Mushir Alam, heard the appeals of the Sindh government and Daniel Pearl’s parents against the SHC’s judgment acquitting the alleged murderers of Daniel Pearl.

During the proceeding, Justice Yahya once again asked advocate Mehmood A Sheikh, counsel of Omer Sheikh to make a submission on the letter.

He said the letter was hand written and carried the signature of the accused.

The defence counsel replied, “I do feel and believe that there is lot more required to be seen.”

“I will go through the letter along with the court,” adding, “I haven’t seen it yet.” After the interval, Justice Afridi inquired from the counsel is that letter of your client? Mehmood Sheikh told he had seen the letter in the court file, but did not have its copy.

The court then directed the Sindh prosecutor general to facilitate the defence counsel regarding the matter.

Earlier, Mehmood A Sheikh submitted if the statement of Magistrate Iram Jehangir is believed it shatters and buries the prosecution’s case.

He argued that Iram Jehangir, who had recorded the statements of the accused, told in her own statement before the ATC judge that the accused’s statements were involuntary.

On the issue of delay, Mehmood Sheikh argued that not a single word had come from the investigators, why it took so long to produce the accused before the magistrate.

He said the witnesses in their statements mentioned that before entering into the court they had seen 400 security personnel outside the court.

It means the statements were given under duress.

The defence counsel has completed arguments on the accused confessions and the issue of “delay”.

Now tomorrow (Wednesday), he will argue on “identification parade” and non-appearance of Daniel Pearl’s wife Marianne before the court.

A division bench of the SHC, Karachi, on 2nd April 2020, acquitted the accused, Ahmad Omer Saeed Sheikh, Adil Sheikh, Salman Saqib, and Fahad Nasim.

It also held that the subject case does not fall within the purview of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997, and Omer Sheikh is entitled to both remissions in accordance with law and the benefit of Section 382-B, Criminal Procedure Code, 1898.

Trial Court on 15-07-2002 had convicted, Ahmad Omer Saeed Sheikh and awarded him death sentence, while Adil Sheikh, Salman Saqib, and Fahad Nasim were given life imprisonment under Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997.

Despite the SHC order dated 24-12-2020, the chief secretary Government of Sindh, additional chief secretary Home Department, Sindh, Senior Superintendent Central Jail, Karachi, and Senior Superintendent Central Jail Sukkur refused to release the accused albeit the direction in the said order lapsed on 07-10-2020 and was never extended thereafter, submitted the counsel.

He informed that the Senior Superintendent Central Jail Karachi has in this regard sent a letter to the apex court seeking instructions whether this Court has extended the detention of the accused.

The case was adjourned until Wednesday (Jan 20).

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021