PAKISTAN NEWS: Daniel Pearl case Pakistani court orders immediate release of terrorist Omar Saeed Sheikh

He is one of three terrorists released by India in 1999 in exchange for the passengers of a hijacked plane, announcing his arrest in connection with the kidnapping and murder of journalist Daniel Pearl null and void.

A Pakistani court on Thursday ordered the release of Omar Saeed Sheikh, one of three terrorists released by India in 1999 with the intention of boarding a hijacked plane, announcing his arrest for kidnapping and killing journalist Daniel Pearl null and void.

The Sindh High Court ruled that the orders for the custody of the Sheikh and three other suspects in the case were invalid. When ordering their release, the court ruled that their names should be included in the non-compliance list so that they could not leave Pakistan.

“These men have been sentenced to 18 years in prison without a criminal record,” said the presiding judge.

In April, the high court heard the appeals of Sheikh, Fahad Naseem, Sheikh Adil and Salman Saqib 18 years after the sentencing and dismissal of Sheikh, Saqib and Naseem.

He changed the Sheikh’s death sentence to seven years in prison and fined him Rs2 million. The Sheikh has served 18 years in prison and his seven-year sentence for kidnapping was calculated at a later date.

However, the provincial government issued a warrant for the 90-day detention of the four men who remain in custody.

The first notice was issued on the day the men were released and the second within three months of their first detention. It is unclear what steps the provincial government will take now, but has opposed the release of the Sheikh and other former suspects.

Daniel Pearl, 38, was head of the South Asian office at The Wall Street Journal when he was abducted in Karachi in January 2002 while researching the relationship between Pakistani soldiers and Richard C Reid, known as the “shoe bomb” of a 2001 bombing from Paris to Miami. Pearl was later killed by her captors in Karachi.

Sheikh, a British citizen of Pakistan, has been released by India along with Jaish-e-Mohammed founder Masood Azhar and terrorist Mushtaq Ahmad Zargar in exchange for Indian Airlines passengers IC-814, hijacked by a Pakistani terrorist group. Kathmandu went to Kandahar in December 1999.

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