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ISLAMABAD: Ahmed Umer Saeed Sheikh’s counsel on Wednesday accepted the letter written by Umer to the chief justice Sindh High Court (SHC) in July 2019 regarding Daniel Pearl’s murder case.

Advocate Mehmood A Sheikh, representing Umer Sheikh and other accused, informed a three-member judge bench that his chamber-fellow met with Umer in Karachi jail and got instruction about the letter.

He said Umer Sheikh on 25th July, 2019 wrote a letter as no proceeding took place on his appeal in 17 years.

He argued that the charges against Umer were fabricated as he had nothing to do with the abduction and killing of Daniel Pearl.

“No confession, no admission has been made [by Umer regarding Daniel’s murder],” he said.

He submitted that Umer told his associate that though he had been acquitted by the SHC, the jail authorities had kept him in solitary confinement.

The letter, which the counsel read in the court, said; “Neither did I [Umer] abducted Daniel Pearl nor did I murder him. This has been acknowledged by the American government, by Pervez Musharraf in his book ‘In the Line of Fire’ by Bernard Hemis – Levi in his book ‘Who Killed Daniel Pearl’.”

“The pressure on the government of Pakistan at the time (2001) by the American government was so immense that I was used as a scapegoat, to lessen that pressure,” said the letter.

The accused, Ahmed Umer Saeed Sheikh, Fahad Nasim, Adil Sheikh, and Salman Saqib objected to the Civil Miscellaneous Application (CMA).

Daniel Pearl’s parents filed the CMA through advocate Faisal Siddiqui contains media reports on Umar 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 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 …”

The accused, who filed a reply through advocate Mehmood A Sheikh, contended that the CMA was moved with the “ulterior motive” with the sole object to hamper the course of justice and malign the accused.

Whatsoever the grounds have been put forth in the CMA do not exist and are merely an attempt to derail the course of justice.

Neither the documents, in question, are relevant for the disposal of appeal nor the same contain even a grain of truth.

It is not believable, while being in jail and mostly placed in solitary confinement, Ahmed Umer Sheikh was in a position to make any telephone calls to the sensitive members, which are known only to very privileged people and on which numbers no conversation can be made without following the codal formalities.

If anything of the kind had happened then why the authorities slept over it in the last 11 years.

The news in the newspapers has been published with the same ulterior motives by the elements, who are bent upon blocking the freedom of the accused by putting all their evil machination into operation. The attempt on the part of anyone to break jail to get Umer Sheikh released is more in the nature of a flight of fancy again published with a design to achieve ulterior motives.

Earlier, Prosecutor General Sindh Fiaz Shah, rebutting the contentions of the defence counsel, argued that technicalities are required to be overlooked by the court if from the circumstances of the case it appears that the offence has been committed in the manner as alleged by the prosecution.

He said the prosecution had successfully discharged the initial burden as envisaged under Article 11 of Qanoon-e-Shahadat, while the respondents/accused failed to discharge the burden as provided under Article 131 of Qanoon-e-Shahadat.

He said as an alternate, the apex court remand the case to trial court.

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

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

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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