Video-tape in Pearl case may be shown to judge today
HYDERABAD- The prosecution may show the video-tape to a judge and the defence here on Tuesday (today), carrying evidence in connection with the execution of Daniel Pearl, the slain reporter of Wall Street Journal. The prosecution produced a handwriting expert as a witness, who identified the handwriting of Sheikh Omar in the court, which was used for email at the time of the kidnapping of the deceased.
Syed Ali Ashraf Shah, the judge of Anti Terrorism Court (ATC) Hyderabad, postponed the hearing for Tuesday when the blasphemy application against the AG would be taken up. Following the directives of the court, the Surgeon of Liaquat Medical Hospital (LMC) Jamshoro Dr Khuda Bux Dahiri visited the Hyderabad jail on Monday and checked the condition of ailing Salman Saqib.
Chief Prosecutor of the WSJ reporter Pearl’s kidnap and murder case, Raja Qureshi told newsmen that when the case proceedings stared on Monday the prosecution produced three witnesses including the Judicial Magistrate South Karachi, Irum Jahangir, a handwriting expert, Ghulam Akbar Jaffari and Crime Investigation Agency (CIA) Head Constable Muhammad Iqbal.
Raja Qureshi said the prosecution offered video-tapes on Monday to be viewed by the judge and the defence but the matter has been postponed for Tuesday to examine as to when the defence would be shown the video cassettes. He said the judicial magistrate deposed before the ATC Judge about the statements of accused recorded by her under section 164 and the reports of identification parade. He said handwriting expert Ghulam Akbar Jaffari submitted a positive report with regard to the writings of Sheikh Omar, which were disputed.
He said CIA had constable Muhammad Iqbal has been examined, who was the Musheer of the arrest of co-accused Suleman Saqib and Sheikh Omar along with different identification such as Bashir and Farooq. The prosecutor said the expert identified the disputed handwriting, the notes of which were found in the briefcase of Sheikh Omar at the time of his arrest.
He said the disputed handwriting was compared with the statements recorded by Sheikh Omar before Judicial Magistrate South Karachi, Irum Jahangir and added that both handwritings were the similar. The defence lawyer of three accused, Rai Bashir advocate claimed that during the cross-examination by the defence the Judicial Magistrate said she believed that the confessional statements made by the accused before her were under duress, influence and due to pressure.
He said the JM deposed before the court about the identification report of the accused Sheikh Omar by Nasir Abbas (driver) and Asif Farooqi. Quoting JM, Rai Bashir said she told the ATC that driver Nasir Abbas had said he saw Pearl last leaving his car and sitting in another car, which was occupied by Sheikh Omar. Asif Farooqi had said in the statement before the JM that he along with Arif and Pearl went to Akbar International Hotel to meet a person identified as Bashir, who was originally Sheikh Omar.
He claimed that during the cross-examination handwriting expert said he had received the handwritings from the office of Senior Superintendent Police (SSP) instead of the court, which contradict the statement of the JM. He said the judicial magistrate in her statement had said that she had received the handwritings of Sheikh Omar, which were forwarded to handwriting expert directly from the court.
He claimed that during the cross-examination by the defence contradictions were found in the statements of Judicial Magistrate and handwriting expert. Rai Bashir claimed the expert said in the court that there was no ground which prove that both writings were similar.
He said the third witness, CIA head constable deposed in the court that he had arrested the accused Salman, Fahad and Omar on February 11 and 12 but during cross-examination, the CIA official admitted that he had arrested the accused on February 10. Meanwhile, Abdul Waheed Katpar, the attorney of the prime suspect Omar Sheikh, claimed before newsmen that during the cross-examination the judicial magistrate said she believed that confessional statements of the accused were not given voluntarily.
Rai Bashir also read out a verbal message of Sheikh Omar before newsmen asking the Jihadis and Muslims to raise voice against the injustice and atrocities being perpetrated on the Muslims of India in Gujarat. Sheikh Aslam and Abdul Rauf, the brother of Sheikh Adil and father of Salman Saqib, were also present in the jail. They expressed dissatisfaction on the way they were allowed meeting with the accused. The emails protested against the treatment of Pakistani prisoners held by US forces in neighbouring Afghanistan. The second email accused Pearl of being a US spy and threatened to kill him.
Source: The News