Sindh government says it will file review petition against top court ruling
The White House on Thursday said it was “outraged” over the Supreme Court of Pakistan’s acquittal of Omar Sheikh, the primary accused in the kidnapping and murder of U.S. journalist Daniel Pearl.
Spokesperson Jen Psaki told a media briefing that President Joe Biden’s government was “outraged” over the ruling that she described as “an affront to terrorism victims everywhere.” She said the Pakistani government should “review its legal options.”
In a separate statement, newly-appointed Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he was “deeply concerned” by the Supreme Court’s ruling. “We are committed to securing justice for the Pearl family and holding terrorists accountable,” he said in a posting on Twitter.
The Sindh government has already announced that it would file a review petition against the verdict, which was delivered after the top court rejected earlier appeals and ordered the immediate release of London-born Sheikh. In a statement, provincial information minister Nasir Hussain Shah said that Sheikh had admitted his involvement in the murder case, adding that the government would seek a review of the ruling. On Wednesday, Sheikh admitted—for the first time—that he had played a “minor” role in the kidnapping and murder of Pearl. However, he did not clarify what this role entailed.
Separately, a spokesperson for the Attorney-General for Pakistan said the federal government was in touch with the Sindh government over the acquittal of Sheikh. He affirmed that a review petition would be filed pleading for the Supreme Court to rescind the release orders of Sheikh and three co-accused.
“The federal government will provide the provincial government with every possible legal assistance in the matter,” said the spokesperson.
On Thursday, the Supreme Court upheld the Sindh High Court’s acquittal of Omar Sheikh, who was convicted of masterminding the brutal murder of Pearl, the South Asia bureau chief for the Wall Street Journal, in 2002. Pearl’s family called the decision “a travesty of justice” and urged the U.S. government to intervene in the case. “The release of these killers puts in danger journalists everywhere and the people of Pakistan. We urge the U.S. government to take all necessary actions under the law to correct this injustice,” Pearl’s parents, Ruth and Judea, said in a statement.