HYDERABAD: An anti-terrorist court (ATC) in Hyderabad on Thursday evening acquitted Qari Muhammad Hashim, a co-accused in the Daniel Pearl kidnapping-cum-murder case, for lack of evidence during an inside jail trial.
Qari Muhammad Hashim hails from Ahmedpur East where Rural Media Networks Pakistan is based. He belongs to a noble and undisputedly religious family which commands respect in the area. His father, Qari Abdul Qadeer, is Khateeb Jamia Masjid Chowk Chacha Basti AhmedpurEast and associated with Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (S).
Hashim was arrested in August 2005 in conjunction with the kidnapping and was locked up in Hyderabad’s central prison.
Defence counsel Sher Mohammad Leghari had filed an acquittal plea under Section 265-K of the Criminal Procedure Code, arguing that there was no evidence against his client.
According to Leghari, Hashim had been apprehended for arranging a meeting for Daniel Pearl with Mubarak Ali Shah Gillani. The court acquitted the accused for lack of evidence.
Pearl went missing in January 2002 in Karachi. A month later after receiving and examining a videotape containing scenes of his beheading, the government announced that he had been killed.
In May 2002, a decapitated body was recovered from a shallow grave and after a DNA test, the government announced that the body was of Pearl. However, the announcement was made shortly after the July 15, 2002 verdict against prime accused Ahmed Omar Seed Shaikh.
Omar Shaikh, co-accused Fahad Nasim, Sheikh Adil and Syed Salman Saqib faced an inside trial held in central prison Hyderabad in 2002.
ATC judge Syed Ali Ashraf Shah had awarded the death sentence to Omar Shaikh and life imprisonment to the co-accused. They have filed an appeal before the Sindh High Court whereas the Sindh government has filed an appeal for enhancement of the sentences awarded to the co-accused.
Omar Sheikh and the co-accused were kept in Karachi central prison and then were transferred due to security reasons to the colonial era Hyderabad central prison in May 2002.
photo credit: Rory Finneran via CC