The parents of American journalist Daniel Pearl who was murdered in 2002 on Saturday filed an appeal to Pakistan's Supreme Court seeking reversal of the Sindh High Court (SCH) verdict that overturned convictions of four men in their son's abduction and murder case.
The deceased journalist's father tweeted details of the petition along with an emotional video message, according to Voice of America. "We are standing up for justice for not only our son, Daniel Pearl, but for all of our dear friends in Pakistan, so they can know a society free of violence and terror, and raising their children in peace and harmony," Pearl's father, Judea Pearl, was quoted as saying by Voice of America.
Last month, the Sindh government had challenged its provincial high court's order in the Pakistan Supreme Court, wherein British-born al-Qaeda leader Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh and three others were acquitted in US journalist Daniel Pearl's kidnapping and murder case.
Two criminal petitions have been filed by renowned lawyer Faisal Siddiqi on behalf of the parents - Ruth Pearl and Judie Pearl - against the acquittal and release of the four accused, the Express Tribune reported on Saturday.
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.
On April 2 this year, a two-judge Sindh High Court bench overturned the death sentence of British-born 46-year-old al-Qaeda leader Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, who was convicted in Pearl's murder. The court also acquitted his three aides who were serving life sentences in the case. Thereafter, the four acquitted men were re-arrested, only a day after SHC overturned their convictions.
The Pakistan Interior Ministry had said in a statement that the men's release was halted after they were re-arrested through a measure, allowing the government to hold suspects for three months. The ministry said it "reiterates its commitment to follow the due process under the laws of the country to bring terrorists to the task."
Pearl's murder took place three years after Sheikh, along with Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar and Mushtaq Ahmed Zargar, was released by India in 1999 and given safe passage to Afghanistan in exchange for the nearly 150 passengers of hijacked Indian Airlines Flight 814. He was serving a prison term in India for kidnappings of Western tourists in the country.
(With agency inputs)