SC Orders the Release of Accused from Death Cell in Daniel Pearl Murder Case

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court ordered that the prime accused in the case of Daniel Pearl murder be released right away from his death cell. Moreover, the ruling directed that the accused should be moved to the rest house of the government within a time span of two days. 

A three-judge bench continued with the hearing of the appeal made by the Sindh government against the order of the Sindh High Court on the 24th of December. As per the decision back then, the accused, Ahmed Omer Sheikh, was to be released. 

It was further directed that Sheikh should be kept at a new and better location in prison. Moreover, he should be kept in an open room for at least two days before his transfer to the rest house takes place. 

The apex court added that the rest house should be provided top-notch security as well. The accused is to be given internet and mobile facilities as well. The order also stated that Sheikh’s family could stay with him at the rest house but, only between the hours of 8am and 5pm. 

The Supreme Court’s ruling clarified that the accused should not be allowed to access the outside world, while within the rest house. In addition, he is to be left in peace for Kashmir Day so that he can enjoy it with his family members. 

The top court rejected the appeal of the government before as well. Initially, an appeal had been made to suspend the verdict of the SHC on the acquittal of the prime accused. It also said that the federal government could choose to file an appeal against the decision of the SHC. 

The Advocate General (AG) of Sindh informed the court that the Sheikh could possibly escape after being released. 

Justice Muneeb Akhtar questioned as to how the federal government could object to the decision made by the Sindh High Court. He revealed that the government was not even challenging the decision of the SHC. 

Justice Sajjad Ali, a bench member, then inquired whether there was any need for the court to justify illegal detention. Justice Umar Ata Bandial then asked if it was necessary to ensure that the accused remains imprisoned to prevent them from fleeing. 

In his response to the remarks of the court, the provincial AG asserted that detainees should not be granted permission to stay with their family members. Instead, he suggested, that they should only be allowed to contact their families via a cell phone. 

Justice Shah replied that as per the government, Sheikh was already being permitted to use a cell phone in his cell. He stated that everyone is aware of what happens in prison. 

The assistant advocate went on to pray upon the apex bench to ensure that the accused is kept in Lahore. Furthermore, the Sindh AG said that accomplices of the accused could be planning an attack on the rest house to help him escape. 

Justice Bandial reasserted that the government is being given only two days to ensure that proper security arrangements are made for Sheikh. The AG responded by recalling that young soldier of the country were martyred just a few days ago, while fighting terrorists.