The Pakistani government has appealed to the Supreme Court to reconsider its decision to release a British-born Islamist and three others convicted of beheading American journalist Daniel Pearl. But expressed “deep concern.”
A three-judge panel on Thursday acquitted Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh and three other Islamists convicted of kidnapping and killing a Wall Street Journal reporter in 2002.
The court ordered their immediate release if not required in any other case.
Faisal Siddiqui, a lawyer for the Pearl family, and a public prosecutor said the government had filed a petition in the southern province of Sindh, asking the high court to reconsider its decision.
“We have filed three review petitions,” prosecutor Faiz Shah said, explaining that the petitions seek dismissal and reinstatement of the sheikh’s death sentence.
The petition states, “After being displeased and dissatisfied with the decision, the petitioner immediately files a criminal review application for leave to appeal on matters of law, facts and basis.”
Provincial Law Minister Murtaza Wahab said the release orders would stand by regard to the review petition.
“We have not yet received the release orders,” he said, adding that the Islamists were unlikely to be released over the weekend, as court orders were usually sent to prison officials. It takes a few days.
Pearl, 38, was interrogated by Islamist militants in Karachi after the September 11 attacks in the United States when she was abducted. A video of his beheading surfaced weeks later.
His parents expressed shock at the Supreme Court’s decision, which US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken called “victims of terrorism everywhere, including Pakistan.”
Blinken said Washington was ready to prosecute Sheikh in the United States as well.
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