- Justice Umar Ata Bandial questions why the accused was not moved to Lahore despite court orders.
- Justice Bandial says court is not comfortable that the accused in the case were kept in a jail despite orders being issued for their release.
- Attorney-general assures court that Omar Sheikh will be moved to Lahore within a week.
ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Thursday ordered authorities to shift the prime accused in the murder of American journalist Daniel Pearl, Omar Sheikh, to Lahore’s Kot Lakhpat Jail.
The apex court issued the orders during hearing of a plea filed by the federal and Sindh governments against the release of the accused.
Sheikh’s lawyer argued before the court that his client’s family was in Lahore and he should be moved there.
To this, Justice Umar Ata Bandial asked why the accused was not moved to Lahore despite court orders.
“There are many high security areas, Omar Sheikh can be moved there,” suggested Justice Bandial. He also remarked that the court was not issuing orders for the release of Sheikh but wants him to be moved to Lahore.
Justice Bandial’s questioning led the additional advocate-general of Punjab to inform the court that if the accused is shifted to a rest house then the help of the Rangers and the army would be needed.
He added that instead the accused will be kept in a government house within the vicinity of the jail.
“If he is to be moved within the premises of the jail then why is it taking so much time?” asked Justice Bandial at the explanation given by the Punjab government representative.
The judge was informed that the government was searching for a vacant house of a government employee to move Sheikh.
Justice Bandial, during the hearing, also remarked that the court was not comfortable that the accused in the case were kept in jail despite orders being issued for their release.
During the hearing, the Punjab government also asked for time to move Sheikh to Lahore. But Justice Sajjad Ali Shah wondered why the government was seeking time when the accused was being kept in the vicinity of the jail.
Attorney-General of Pakistan Khalid Jawed assured the court that the accused will be moved within a week. He also informed the bench that the other accused in the case will remain in Sindh as they hail from that province.
Later, the court adjourned the case for two weeks and asked the Punjab chief secretary to appear in court at the next hearing.