The Sindh High Court in Pakistan on Thursday has directed the release of terrorist Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, Fahad Naseem, Sheikh Adil and Salman Saqib in connection with the kidnapping and murder of US journalist Daniel Pearl.
According to Daily Pakistan newspaper, the Sindh High Court also ordered putting the names of accused Ahmed Omer Saeed Shaikh and others in the exit control list (ECL). The accused have been in jail for the last 18 years and ordered the accused to appear as and when the court summons them.
"Earlier Assistant Attorney General informed the court that the government have the authority to keep an accused in detention. The provincial home department held the accused under the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) on September 28," Daily Pakistan reported.
In April this year, the appeals were heard after 18 years and acquitted Sheikh, Saqib and Nasim.
Omar Saeed Sheikh, one of the three terrorists, was freed by India during the hijacking of airliner IC-814 in 1999 in exchange for the passengers.
After the appeals were heard, Sheikh's death sentence was commuted to seven years and he was fined Rs 2 million. Sheikh has already spent 18 years in prison on death row, and his seven-year sentence for kidnapping was counted as time served.
The Pakistani media outlet reported that the men were detained under Section 11 of the Anti-Terrorism Act.
In 2002, Daniel Pearl, the 38-year-old journalist of The Wall Street Journal's South Asia bureau, was kidnapped and beheaded while he was in Pakistan investigating a story of terror groups' links to Al Qaeda.
The US House Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs has expressed its "deep concerns" over Pakistan court's decision in April to overturn the conviction of Omar Saeed Sheikh for the kidnapping and killing of Wall Street Journal journalist Daniel Pearl.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)