US expresses concerns over Omar Sheikh’s acquittal
The US State of Department has said in a statement that the US administration is deeply concerned by the Pakistani Supreme Court’s decision to acquit Ahmad Omar Saeed Sheikh who was involved in Daniel Pearl’s kidnapping and murder.
The apex court on Thursday dismissed the appeal filed by the Sindh government and ordered the release of the prime suspect in the murder of American journalist Daniel Pearl.
Daniel Pearl was an American journalist working with The Wall Street Journal. Pearl was first kidnapped and then beheaded in Karachi on Feb 1, 2002.
“The court’s decision is an affront to terrorism victims everywhere, including in Pakistan,” US Secretary Antony Blinken remarked in the press release.
“The United States recognizes past Pakistani actions to hold Omar Sheikh accountable and notes that Sheikh currently remains detained under Pakistani law. We expect the Pakistani government to expeditiously review its legal options to ensure justice is served,” he added.
Earlier, Omar Sheikh had been sentenced to death while other three accused were awarded life imprisonment.
However, in April 2020, the Sindh High Court had ordered the release of the three accused named in the murder of the American journalist and commuted the death sentence of one accused Ahmed Omar Sheikh to seven years imprisonment.
Later on the Sindh government had approached the Supreme Court to challenge the SHC’s verdict.
During the last hearing, the Advocate General Sindh told the SC that Omar Sheikh had links with banned outfits but the evidence could not be proved in a court of law.
In the latest development, the provincial government has decided to file a review petition against the SC’s decision.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Attorney-General for Pakistan Khalid Jawed Khan has also said that the federal government is in contact with the Sindh government over the matter.