Islamabad: Pakistan's Sindh government has approached the Supreme Court, seeking an early hearing of its appeal which challenged the provincial high court's verdict that acquitted British-born top al-Qaeda leader Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh and three others in the abduction and murder of US journalist Daniel Pearl in Karachi in 2002.
Pearl, the 38-year-old South Asia bureau chief for The Wall Street Journal, was abducted and beheaded while he was in Pakistan investigating a story in 2002 on the alleged links between the country's powerful spy agency ISI and al-Qaeda.
The Sindh government last week challenged in the Supreme Court the provincial High Court's April 2 dated order that overturned the murder conviction and found Sheikh guilty of the lesser charge of kidnapping.
It also acquitted three other persons namely Sheikh Adil, Fahad Naseem and Salman Saqib, who had earlier been sentenced to life imprisonment by an Anti Terrorism Court (ATC) in Karachi.
In the new application filed on Tuesday, the Sindh government apprised the Supreme Court that there was apprehension about Sheikh's absconsion as there was strong evidence of his involvement in the kidnapping and murder of the American journalist, the Dawn newspaper reported.
"The matter is of great urgency, therefore, the application for the suspension of April 2 Sindh High Court judgement be heard as early as possible," the fresh application stated.
It requested the apex court to fix the hearing as early as possible, preferably in the coming week. In 2002, Omar Sheikh was arrested after a graphic video showing the American journalist's decapitation had been delivered to the US consulate. Subsequently, Sheikh was sentenced to death by the trial court.