Defence counsel presents arguments in Pearl case

Counsel for Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh – one of the key accused in the Denial Pearl case – has told the apex court that there is an impression that if the court acquitted his client, he would be handed over to the United States.

Continuing his arguments before a three-judge bench on Tuesday, Advocate Mahmood A Sheikh said an international lobby becomes active whenever the trial proceedings progress. “There is an impression that if Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh is acquitted, he would be handed over to the US,” he said.

Earlier, the counsel said the purchase of a printer and scanner by the accused was described as part of a conspiracy to abduct and kill Daniel Pearl.

“The shopkeeper from whom the printer and scanner were purchased did not give any receipt. If the accused had to buy the goods for the crime, they would not have given their correct names to the shopkeeper,” he argued.

He said the accused were in police custody at the time of purchase of the printer and scanner.

Sheikh said the shopkeeper during the investigation stated that he sold the computer while he changed his stance before the court. “Police recovery memo was fake and full of lies,” he alleged.

Addressing the counsel, Justice Yahya Afridi – one of the members of the bench – asked him to tell the court something new, adding that the same arguments were also presented by other counsel.

The counsel said the main accused Omar Saeed did not make any confessional statement. The then Foreign Office spokesman had stated that everything was happening from India, he added.

The Supreme Court later adjourned hearing of the case till Wednesday [today].

A SHC division bench on April 2 commuted the death sentence of Sheikh to seven years and acquitted three others who were serving life terms for abducting and killing Wall Street Journal’s former South Asia bureau chief Denial Pearl in 2002.

The PPP led provincial government had swiftly challenged the April 2 order in the Supreme Court. The Sindh government had also immediately detained the four men under Section 3 (1) of West Pakistan Maintenance of Public Order (MPO) Ordinance 1960.

The same SHC division bench, however, annulled the detention order on December 24 and ordered the Sindh government to immediately release the four men. This order elicited immediate response from the US which on December 25 expressed its “deep concerns” over the SHC order.

The provincial government had, however, not released the accused as it contended that the Supreme Court’s September 28 order with regard to Daniel Pearl case accused was still in the field.

WITH ADDITIONAL INPUT FROM APP

(This story has been published from The Express Tribune feed, without modifications to the text)