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ISLAMABAD: The parents of Daniel Pearl, Wall Street Journal (WSJ)’s Bureau Chief for South Asia, submitted that the Supreme Court majority judgment suffers from a misreading and non-reading of the evidence on the record and misapplication of the law.

Ruth and Judea, parents of Daniel Pearl, on Friday, through advocate Faisal Siddiqui filed a review petition against the SC majority judgment dated 26.03.2021, which ruled that the whole prosecution evidence is full of doubts and it has failed to prove the guilt of the accused persons, namely, Fahad Naseem, Salman Saqib, Sheikh Muhammad Adil, and Ahmed Omar Sheikh.

However, Justice Yahya Afridi, who was part of a three-judge bench, in his separate judgment, held that the prosecution has been able to prove beyond reasonable doubt that Ahmed Omar Sheikh and Fahad Naseem have committed the offences under Section 365-A, PPC, Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997 and Section 120-B, PPC, thus, they are convicted for the said offences and sentenced to imprisonment for life on each count. The SC bench, headed by Mushir Alam and comprising Justice Tariq Masood and Justice Yahya Afridi on January 20, 2021 in majority decision with 2-1 had dismissed the appeals of Sindh government and Daniel Pearl’s parents.

The petition submitted that the complainant, Marianne Pearl, wife of Daniel Pearl, fully cooperated during the investigation.

It is further submitted that it was not necessary that the complainant produce the laptop, on which, she received the emails, as the email were neither challenged during the recording of evidence, nor at the time of recording of Statement of the Respondent No 2 and accused Fahad Naseem and Salman Saqib, under Section 342, CrPC, 1898. The mere absence of details in the FIR and delay in lodging the FIR is never per se fatal, if evidence in the case is trustworthy and reliable and the evidence cannot be discarded merely on the basis of delay in initiating the FIR.

It is submitted that in May 2002, a body was recovered from Karachi and after verification and identification of the body as of deceased person (Daniel), it was handed over to the petitioners and the body was buried in America.

However, the identification and burial of the deceased person took place after the trial court passed judgment in July 2002. Therefore, these facts or relevant documents could not be produced before the trial court, which in its judgment gave no finding on the recovery of the body.

The petition said that it is obvious and apparent from the fact that the counsel for the Respondent No 2 (Omar) made an application for attested copy of the post-mortem report of deceased person and the trial court through Order dated: 28.05.2002, allowed the application. The petition contended that the recovery of dead body of the deceased person was never in issue and it was raised for the first time when the Sindh High Court based its judgment dated: 02.04.2020, on the premise that death of Deceased Person was not proved as his body was not recovered and as a consequence, the entire evidence regarding the identity of Deceased Person and actions in relation to abduction for ransom and the murder of Deceased Person were thrown in doubt.

Therefore, the petitioners brought the post-mortem report of the allegedly recovered body of the Deceased Person (Daniel), which was already the part of record of Trial Court, to the notice of this Supreme Court during arguments and also filed DNA report and pictures of the Deceased Person’s grave before the apex court along with Criminal Miscellaneous Application No 2065 of 2020, which proved that the allegedly recovered body was of the deceased person, namely, Daniel Pearl.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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