Pakistan's top court postpones appeal in Daniel Pearl case 

Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl is pictured in this photo, one of two image included in an e-mail message apparently from his kidnappers. (REUTERS/Handout)
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Updated 16 September 2020

Pakistan's top court postpones appeal in Daniel Pearl case 

  • Hearing is against acquittal of a British-Pakistani man and three others in the 2002 kidnapping and killing of reporter Daniel Pearl
  • Pearl disappeared on January 23, 2002 in Karachi while researching links between Pakistani militants 

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan's top court on Tuesday postponed for two weeks the much-awaited appeals hearing against the acquittal earlier this year of a British-Pakistani man and three others in the 2002 kidnapping and killing of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl.
According to Faisal Saddiqi, a defense lawyer for the Pearl family, the Supreme Court announced the postponement in the case after the chief prosecutor failed to show up following a death in the family.
Saddiqui said the next hearing will be on Sept. 29.
Pearl disappeared on Jan. 23, 2002 in the southern port city of Karachi while researching links between Pakistani militants and Richard C. Reid, who became known as the “shoe-bomber” after he was arrested on a flight from Paris to Miami with explosives in his shoes.
A videotape received by U.S. diplomats in February, 2002 confirmed that the 38-year-old Pearl was dead. He had been beheaded.
Authorities later arrested Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, a former student at the London School of Economics, and three others who were convicted in July 2002. But a Karachi court in April overturned the murder conviction of Saeed, a British Pakistani national, though it found him guilty of kidnapping Pearl and sentenced him to seven years.
Saeed could go free unless the Supreme Court rules otherwise. He had already spent 18 years in prison on death row and the seven-year sentence for kidnapping was expected to be counted as time served.
Also Tuesday, Saeed filed an appeal, challenging his conviction and the seven-year sentence in the Pearl case. No dates were immediately set for a hearing of his petition.
In court testimony and emails released during the 2002 trial, Saeed said he had developed a personal relationship with Pearl, with the two men sharing concerns about their wives, who were both pregnant at the time.
The Pearl Project, an investigative journalism team at Washington’s Georgetown University, carried out a three-year investigation into Pearl’s kidnapping and death. It concluded that Pearl was beheaded by Khalid Sheikh Mohammad, who was arrested in Pakistan in 2003 and later described as the architect of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States. Mohammad is a prisoner at the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. 


Pakistan to establish 18 markets on Afghanistan, Iran borders to boost trade, curb smuggling

Updated 18 September 2020

Pakistan to establish 18 markets on Afghanistan, Iran borders to boost trade, curb smuggling

  • Under the plan, the government will set up 12 markets along the border with Afghanistan and six along the Iran frontier
  • Prime minister approves setting up two border markets in Balochistan and one in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa by February next year

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan government has decided to set up markets along its borders with neighboring Afghanistan and Iran to boost trade opportunities, foster peace and check smuggling, the commerce ministry said on Friday.
Main crossing point into Pakistan for both goods and people from Iran and Afghan also serve as major smuggling routes.
“The border markets will help create job opportunities and establish a peaceful relationship with the neighboring countries,” Aisha Humera Moriani, joint-secretary at the Ministry of Commerce, told Arab News.
Under the plan, the government is establishing 18 markets: 12 along the border with Afghanistan and six along the Iran frontier.
In a meeting on Thursday, Prime Minister Imran Khan approved setting up two border markets in Balochistan and one in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province as a pilot project, to be functional by February next year.
Moriani said the markets would contribute to local development and help the government address “smuggling and boost legal trade across the border.”
Pakistan is fencing its borders with Afghanistan and Iran to check cross-border militancy, illegal movement of people and smuggling, which is a major source of income for people living along border towns and villages.
Sardar Shoukat Popalzai, President Balochistan Economic Forum, said the government should have built “common markets” along the Afghanistan and Iran borders with the mutual consent of the neighboring governments to maximize benefits for people on both sides of the borders.
“The government has not released a feasibility report, if there is any, of these markets as to how are they going to help the local population,” he told Arab News.
Popalzai said Balochistan border areas were sparsely populated and establishment of a few shopping terminals would “hardly make any difference in the lives of the people.”
He said cross-border smuggling was a major source of income for people living in the frontier areas of Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, so “this requires a lot more effort than mere setting up of markets to check this undocumented economy.”
Zubair Motiwala, chairman of the Pak-Afghan Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the government should establish cold storages and warehouses in the border markets to boost the export of perishable and other items to the neighboring countries.
“The taxation system on the exports and imports of different items through the land routes should be well defined to encourage businessmen and locals to boost the legal trade with Afghanistan and Iran,” he said.