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Daniel Pearl: Justice Denied, Says India as Pak Upholds Acquittal

SC of Pakistan on Thursday ordered the immediate release of an accused in the murder of the American journalist.

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Soon after Pakistan Supreme Court ordered the release of Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, who is convicted of kidnapping and murdering US journalist Daniel Pearl in 2002, India on Thursday, 28 January, called it “travesty of justice.”

The Ministry of External Affairs also added that the ruling was a reflection of Pakistan’s intent on taking action against terrorism, reported The Indian Express.

In a media briefing, MEA’s official spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said:

“I had mentioned earlier about the very low conviction rate in Pakistan when it comes to sentencing of terror accused… This case truly demonstrates Pakistan’s intent on taking action on terror front. It is a travesty of justice not to find Omar Saeed guilty of any charges in this heinous act of terror.”
Anurag Srivastava
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“Our position on Pakistan taking sustained, verifiable, credible and irreversible action against terrorism and terrorist funding emanating from all territory under its control remain unchanged,” Srivastava added.

Who Is Daniel Pearl?

The 38-year-old South Asia bureau chief of The Wall Street Journal was abducted and beheaded while he was in Pakistan investigating a story in 2002 on the links between the country's powerful spy agency ISI and al-Qaeda.

Since then, at least 23 suspects were produced in the case with Sheikh being the prime suspect.

Pak SC’s Order On Acquittal

The order was announced after the Sindh government decided to challenge the decision of the apex court, which was presided by a three-member bench, reported IANS.

On 2 April, the Sindh government had changed the death sentence of key accused Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh to seven years. Other three accused who were serving life sentences were also acquitted.

Under the West Pakistan Maintenance of Public Order (MPO) Ordinance 1960, immediate detentions of the four men was ordered by the Sindh provincial government.
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‘Outraged by Pak Court’s Decision’: Biden Administration

US President Joe Biden's administration said it is "outraged by the Pakistani Supreme Court's decision," his chief spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters, reported NDTV.

Psaki called the order "an affront to terrorism victims everywhere" and demanded the Pakistani government "review its legal options."

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken too said that he was deeply concerned by the Pakistani Supreme Court’s decision to acquit those involved in Daniel Pearl’s kidnapping and murder. He further added that the US is committed to securing justice for the Pearl family and holding the accused accountable.

( With inputs from NDTV, The Indian Express & PTI)

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