A government prosecutor said Friday that attorneys filed a last-ditch effort to reverse the acquittal of a British-born insurgent accused of masterminding the murder of US journalist Daniel Pearl in Pakistan.
On Thursday, the Supreme Court rejected an appeal against the order of the Sindh High Court (SHC) to explain the killing of Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh and three others after nearly two decades in prison.
The ruling has angered the United States and continues a legal tug of war between the government of Sindh, which used emergency measures to hold the party behind bars, and the courts.
Fiaz Shah, attorney general for the Sindh government, told AFP that he had sent a judgement examination to the Supreme Court in Islamabad, the capital.
Shah said, “The petition was filed to seek a review and request the court to recall the acquittal order.”
An official at Karachi Central Prison where Sheikh is being held said that for his release they had not issued a formal court order.
The official requesting anonymity said, “As soon as the order is received formally, it will be followed.”
The White House said that it was “outraged” by the verdict of the Supreme Court and recommended allowing him to be tried by American authorities.
When he was abducted in Karachi in January 2002 while writing a storey about rebels, Pearl was the South Asia bureau chief for The Wall Street Journal.
A gruesome video documenting his decapitation was issued to officials almost a month later, after a series of ransom requests were made.
Days after Pearl’s abduction, Sheikh, who had once studied at the London School of Economics and had been involved in previous abductions of foreigners, was arrested.
After telling a Karachi court that Pearl had already been killed days before the graphic video of the journalist’s beheading had been released, he was later sentenced to death by hanging.
The decision of the top court on Thursday followed an uproar last year after a lower court convicted 47-year-old Sheikh of murder and lowered his sentence to a lower charge of abduction, reversing his death penalty and allowing him to be released after nearly two decades in jail.
That prompted a number of appeals, including from Pearl’s family, but in a split decision, the Supreme Court dismissed them, upholding the acquittal.