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ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) on Wednesday directed prosecution and defence sides to file a reply on the application submitted by Daniel Pearl’s parents regarding Ahmad Omer Saeed Sheikh’s links with the terrorists.

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.

The Civil Miscellaneous Application (CMA) of Daniel’s parents contains media reports on Omar Saeed Sheikh’s links with terrorist organisations, and working against the integrity of Pakistan, such as, “a detained Pakistani militant, Omar Saeed Sheikh, had made hoax calls to President Asif Ali Zardari and the Chief of Army Staff, Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, in a bid to heighten Pak-India tensions after last year’s terrorist attacks on Mumbai”; and the statement that “Pakistan Army arrested nearly 100 militants and foiled an imminent jailbreak attempt to free top-al-Qaeda leader Ahmed Omer Saeed Sheikh ….”

Mehmood A Sheikh, counsel for Omer Sheikh and other accused, informed the bench that he has been making efforts to get the letter, and also asked the prosecution general Sindh for help.

“Didn’t have time to go to Karachi and meet [my client],” he said.

Justice Yahya Afridi asked the PG Sindh to facilitate the defence counsel “if he wants to visit him [Omer Sheikh].”

The judge further told him to make a submission after getting instruction from his client.

During the proceeding, Mehmood Sheikh argued that Ronald Joseph, a FBI agent, who came to Pakistan on a mission, took the original audio-video cassette of Daniel Pearl’s murder to Washington, but gave its copy to the US Consulate, Karachi.

Nothing is proved who prepared the video, when and where (place) it was prepared.

Ronald, in his statement, even did not disclose who had provided him the cassette, said the counsel.

Mehmood Sheikh further contended that no connection is being established with the accused.

He said the video should not be looked at by the court as no place of murder was shown and the weapon used for slaughtering Daniel was recovered. Justice Tariq Masood, another member of the bench, observed that the defence side did not raise the issue of genuineness of the video when it was produced in the trial court.

When the defence counsel insisted they did, upon that, the judge said the objection was raised on video only at the stage of cross-examination. Justice Afridi questioned if the defence side had not objected to the video at initial phase then can it object at a later stage.

Mehmood Sheikh further argued that no witness said the body exhumed was of Daniel Pearl.

He said the post-mortem report is a fabricated document.

Faisal Siddiqui advocate, representing Daniel’s parents – Ruth Pearl and Judea Pearl, during his arguments, claimed that a post-mortem of the beheaded body was conducted and after DNA match, it was ensured that the decapitated body is of Bureau Chief of Wall Street Journal in Pakistan.

“This is the main fundamental aspect which Sindh High Court (SHC) has ignored in its judgment,” he added.

Siddiqui further said the post-mortem report also proved that the decapitated body was of Daniel Pearl, which parents of Daniel later buried in USA.

The defence counsel contended that the post-mortem report was never presented by the prosecution before the trial court or even before the SHC. Justice Afridi noted that neither the prosecution nor the defence made efforts to produce the post-mortem report.

The judge asked Mehmood Sheikh that do you want to say that the burden is on the prosecution to prove the veracity of the report.

He questioned whether a murder trial can proceed without the dead body?

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.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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