The order came after SC ordered the Sindh govt to immediately shift Sheikh from his death cell to regular prison cell
KARACHI: The Sindh Home Department issued a notification on Saturday regarding moving Ahmed Omar Sheikh and four other accused in the 2002 killing of American journalist Daniel Pearl, from jail to a newly-built facility within the boundaries of the Central Prison Karachi.
The notification came following the apex court’s order directing the provincial government to immediately shift Sheikh – convicted as the prime accused and sentenced to death for kidnapping and murdering Pearl – from his death cell to a government rest house.
Besides Sheikh, the four accused are namely Fahad Nasim Ahmed, Syed Salman Siqab, Sheikh Muhammad Adil and Abdul Hameed Bugti.
According to the home department’s notification, all suspects “are to be shifted to the newly constricted Rooms for meeting of spouses with Prisoners situated outside of main prison and within boundary of Central Prison Karachi.”
However, “NO internet, telephone and for that matter any device / means of communicating with outside world is to be provided,” the notification further read.
The order also allowed suspects’ families access to them from 8am to 5pm but restricted them from bringing anything from outside of the prison.
To maintain maximum security, however, a list of family members is to be provided by the counsel of detainees to the advocate general Sindh, secretary home or IG prison, Sindh and only the ones mentioned in the list will be allowed access to the detainees during permitted hours.
The families of the suspects will also be offered space in Qasr-e-Naz – a federal government owned building in the city – along with transport to and from the place of detention, the notification concluded.
On February 2, a three-judge Supreme court bench had issued the order to move the accused while hearing the Sindh government’s appeal against the Sindh High Court’s (SHC) December 24 order to release all the four persons earlier convicted by an anti-terrorism court for executing and abetting the 2002 murder of Wall Street Journal’s former bureau chief.
The bench also ordered authorities to ensure security of the rest house and the accused. It noted that Sheikh – who has been languishing in jail for over 18 years – should not be provided with mobile phone and internet facilities in order to prevent his contact with the outside world
However, the court allowed his family to spend time with him from 8am to 5pm.
On January 29, the United States had expressed ‘deep concerns’ over the acquittal of the accused in the Daniel Pearl murder case, asking the government to review its legal options.
A day before that, a three-member bench of the Supreme Court through a majority verdict acquitted all the accused involved in the murder case of the American journalist, ordering release of the four men languishing in the jails for the past 18 years.
“The United States is deeply concerned by the Pakistani Supreme Court’s decision to acquit those involved in Daniel Pearl’s kidnapping and murder, and any proposed action to release them,” stated a press release of the State Department on Friday.