The Supreme Court, in the comprehensive judgment of January 28 judgment to release Ahmad Omar Saeed Sheikh, stated the prosecution was unable to present significant proof demonstrating the suspect murdered and abducted American journalist Daniel Pearl.
The apex court of law, on January 28, had denied the Sindh government’s petition and directed the release of Sheikh, the prime alleged in the 2002 assassination of the American journalist in Karachi.
The provincial government had approached the highest court after the Sindh High Court had annulled Sheikh’s sentence.
A three-member SC bench led by Justice Mushir Alam, involving Justice Yahya Afridi and Justice Sardar Tariq Masood, issued the detailed judgment today, given with a 2-1 majority.
The court, in its verdict, stated the prosecution had portrayed a policeman as a cab driver, and transformed him into a state witness. “Still, if a criminal in handcuffs confesses to a criminality, it has no legal value,” the verdict said.
The ruling said the bogus witness was not demonstrated Pearl’s photograph for recognition.
Furthermore, the verdict noted that the deceased journalist’s wife kept emails holding threats away from the police. It told the journalist’s life was in threat, though, his spouse desisted from filing a complaint for 12 days and stayed silent.
“The FIR does not reveal threatening emails, nor was Pearl’s wife probed,” the judgment said.
Moreover, the highest court declared that the suspect cannot be identified in the slaying video and the earliest video was intentionally concealed from the police.
Had the original film clip been uncovered, a scientific examination would have been performed as the court cannot depend upon video proof without it, the SC declared.
The court commented the prosecution had unable to prove the accusation that Sheikh had murdered Pearl and the journalist’s family’s non-cooperation with the agencies in the probe led to weaknesses in the inquiry.
“It is the court’s responsibility to highlight weaknesses in the inquiry, not rectify them,” the three-member bench stated in the verdict.
“There were misgivings in the adaptation of incidents produced by the prosecution […] the suspects are being released as the trial was unable to provide strong evidence,” it said.
In The Meantime, Justice Yahya Afridi penned a disagreeing note in the comprehensive judgment, saying Sheikh was the last individual to be seen with the journalist, and the evidence confirms it.
“The tribunal’s evidence against Ahmed Omar Sheikh […] in Daniel Pearl murder case was adequate,” the judge said.