Islamabad: The Sindh provincial government in Pakistan will file a criminal appeal in the Supreme Court against a lower court's verdict overturning the death sentence of the prime accused and acquittal of three others in the murder of US journalist Daniel Pearl in Karachi in 2002, according to a media report.
The Sindh High Court on Thursday overturned the death sentence of the prime accused and top al-Qaeda leader Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh to seven years in jail and acquitted the three others - Fahad Naseem, Salman Saqib and Sheikh Adil- serving life sentences in the case.
However, the provincial government invoked the Maintenance of Public Order to keep Sheikh and his three associates in jail.
Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said on Saturday that the government will challenge the verdict in the apex court.
A senior official in the Sindh government on Saturday said that they will engage a private counsel to file a criminal appeal against the verdict, a report in The Express Tribune said.
However, name of the counsel is yet to be decided, the official said
Different federal departments, including the Attorney General for Pakistan's (AGP) office, have advised the Sindh government to engage a private counsel to argue the case in the apex court, the official said.
However, it is learnt that an appeal may not be filed till next week as under the Supreme Court rules, an appeal may be filed within 30 days of a judgement, the report said.
Pearl, the 38-year-old Wall Street Journal's South Asia bureau chief, was abducted and beheaded while he was in Pakistan investigating a story on the alleged links between the country's powerful spy agency ISI and al-Qaeda.
Sheikh, who was the mastermind behind abduction and killing of Pearl, was arrested from Lahore in February 2002 and sentenced to death five months later by an anti-terrorism court.