Islamabad–With Pakistan’s Sindh High Court (SHC) ordering release of the militants accused of murdering American journalist Daniel Pearl, after overturning their conviction and sentencing, and directing the provincial government to end their detention under the Maintenance of Public Order provisions, the US has said it is ready to try those behind the killing.
In a statement, US Acting Attorney General Jeffery Rosen has reiterated that if Pakistani authorities fails to serve justice, the US would seek to take custody of prime convict Omar Sheikh to stand trial in the US.
“We remain grateful for the Pakistani government’s actions to appeal such rulings to ensure that Sheikh and his co-defendants are held accountable. The acquittal from the Pakistani court is an affront to terrorism victims everywhere.
“If, however, those efforts do not succeed, the US stands ready to take custody of Omar Sheikh to stand trial here. We cannot allow him to evade justice for his role in Daniel Pearl’s abduction and murder,” he added.
The strong statement from the US comes in the wake of the Sindh High Court’s decision to order release of accused from detention, which came months after the same court’s decision to overturn the death sentence of Sheikh and acquitting three other men linked to the case. The verdict had sparked outrage with serious criticism coming over the credibility of the country’s judicial and legal justice system.
However, the Sindh provincial government put the four under detention of the local government until the ongoing appeal against their acquittal was being heard in the Supreme Court.
The decision to keep extending their detention by 90 days, was challenged in the Sindh High Court, which again ordered immediate release of the militants, maintaining that there is no justification to put these men in extended detention.
Sheikh, a British-born jihadist who studied at the London School of Economics (LSE), was involved in previous kidnappings of foreigners and was arrested after Pearl’s abduction and killing was investigated. He was later sentenced to death by hanging.
The Imran Khan led government is under severe pressure by the US government to ensure maximum punishment to the murderer, tagged with clear threats of taking matters into their own hands, if Pakistan’s judicial system fails to give justice that eases the pain of Daniel Pearl’s family. (IANS)