The release of Malik Ishaq

Published: July 15, 2011

It is not the first time that a dreaded terrorist has been allowed to walk in Pakistan. PHOTO: NNI

The Supreme Court must have wrung its hands in despair when ordering the release of Malik Ishaq on bail on July 14 because of insufficient evidence produced by the prosecution. It is not the first time that a dreaded terrorist has been allowed to walk in Pakistan and not the first time that a banned terrorist organisation has garlanded him in triumph at Lahore’s Kot Lakhpat prison, indicating to Pakistan’s civil society who is really in charge.

Malik Ishaq’s counsel declared that his client had been imprisoned for over 12 years and that the prosecution had failed to produce any cogent evidence which could implicate him in any of the 44 cases of culpable homicide for which he was accused, out of which he had been acquitted in 34. He is the founder of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LJ), which is aligned with al Qaeda along with Jandullah and Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan. Like Omar Sheikh, another terrorist linked to LJ and al Qaeda, he was not subdued by jail conditions. He allegedly continued to plot terrorist acts and was accused of having executed the attack against the Sri Lankan cricket team in 2009. The news of his release will not be well received in Sri Lanka. Nor by Iran whose diplomat he had allegedly killed in Multan.

It has already been reported that Malik Ishaq had in October 1997 admitted to an Urdu daily to being involved in the killing of over a 100 people. He was flown from Lahore to Rawalpindi in 2009 on a military plane to get the al Qaeda-linked terrorists to negotiate with attackers who had taken several people hostage inside GHQ. On his release, he was accompanied by Sipah-e-Sahaba chief Maulana Muhammad Ahmad Ludhianvi who is in triumph today, having made a political deal in Punjab after the alleged killing of a minority group in Gojra.

Prosecuting terrorists is a problem in Pakistan because of fear. This fear becomes credible when seen against the background of the retreat of the state in the wake of state-sponsored jihad that began in the 1980s. When you receive a phone call that you can be killed if you investigate a certain leader of a certain terrorist group, you have to believe it, no matter if you are a judge at the lower judiciary or a mid-level police officer. These examples, and there seem to be many, clearly point to a severe weakening of the state: In Multan, a judge is hamstrung with another LJ killer, Akram Lahori, witnesses against whom have either been killed or have run away.

There is another more serious matter, that of reverse-indoctrination: Those who prosecute these killers are infected with the same kind of perverted faith mandating the killing of a Muslim by another Muslim. On top of the list of laws that make this happen and persuade the state functionary to make common cause with the terrorist is Pakistan’s blasphemy law, especially close to the heart of Malik Ishaq. Many among the police posse that surrounded him during his release must have nodded vigorously at his statement that he will continue to kill the ‘insulters’. One policeman in collusion with others in his security detail was able to brutally murder former Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer. Let it be clear to all Pakistanis that a group of lawyers showered flower petals on the governor’s killer and the court has been most reluctant to proceed normally with the case.

A lot of people have died complaining that terrorists released by the courts will put them to death. There have been cases where judges have been reluctant to hand down a verdict. In the case of Riaz Basra, the first big sectarian killer, a number of judges hearing the case at the Lahore High Court moved on from their jobs before finally the man was convicted for killing an Iranian diplomat. After he escaped, the state finally decided to kill him in a ‘police encounter’. Basra was so bold that on one occasion he proved to the PML-N leader Nawaz Sharif that he could kill him any time he wanted within his security compound. Tragically, political parties have learned to coexist with such killers instead of punishing them for terrorising the common man.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 16th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (29)

  • Ali
    Jul 15, 2011 - 10:03PM

    Not surprising there has been no comment on this article.

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  • Bilal Raza Qadri
    Jul 15, 2011 - 10:08PM

    The Punjab Govt. of PMLn is patronizing terrorists for political gains. But they should be aware that only militants didn’t vote for them in 2008 and in coming elections only terrorists might be voting them.

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  • mateen.saeed
    Jul 15, 2011 - 10:50PM

    all of us will keep helplessly watching such ugly scenes all our life. Their seems no end to it. Only option we have is either to join these ruthles gangs or immigrate

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  • W.A
    Jul 15, 2011 - 11:31PM

    Is it that an innocent man was in jail for long time
    or it is present from a man called Rana Sanaullah

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  • parvez
    Jul 15, 2011 - 11:33PM

    Being released due insufficient evidence, seems like an easy way out. There has to be something more behind the story. A superior court judge has the Law and its immense powers at his command to strike down wrong and uphold the right. For him not to use his full capacity in such a blatent case of wrong causes one to reflect seriously on the state of affairs in our country.

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  • Siraj Ahsan
    Jul 16, 2011 - 12:13AM

    Pakistan is a nation where you need four people to prove you innocent or else you are guilty and terrorist go free. This is our interpretation of Islam these days.

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  • W.A
    Jul 16, 2011 - 12:21AM

    Now I understand the meanings of SUO MOTO
    It is for a judge to show his personal likings
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  • Muhammad
    Jul 16, 2011 - 12:21AM

    My question is how come these inept Prosecutors are kept in the job and held accountable. This looney seems to be a favorite of the Establishment as they are using him to negotiate with Terrorists on their behalf. I pity the Pakistani public who are being played again and again by this military mullah nexus.

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  • Cautious
    Jul 16, 2011 - 12:48AM

    If you were a Sri Lankan cricket player would you step foot in a country that just let this mass murderer lose? I am unsure whether you are just inept or lack the guts/will to put these bad guys away – just one more reason why the World has a terrible opinion of Pakistan.

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  • Pro Bono
    Jul 16, 2011 - 1:04AM

    Extra judicial killing is the only way to deal with terrorists.

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  • Hassan Farooqi
    Jul 16, 2011 - 2:13AM

    Go ahead PPP, and say, “Aha! Supreme Court releases another terrorist. That is the reason we do not want a free judiciary”. Go ahead and blame your incompetence on Judiciary. This is something Republicans do in the USA.

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  • hahhahah
    Jul 16, 2011 - 3:09AM

    The only solution to sectarian problems is Table talk, so that all parties can come to a consensus for Peace of everyone. God bless All.

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  • Khadim Husain
    Jul 16, 2011 - 4:52AM

    Editorial is amalgmated with sectarian thoughts, Sipah e Sahaba did not kill Salman Taseer and the faction that killed Salman is backed by Shahbaz Shariff, the same faction that killed Salman Taseer is operating Ittefaq Mosque at Model Town, Lahore.
    Previously Qadri sect of Tahir Qadri was incharge of that mosque.
    The peoples who are suggesting encounters or extra judicial affairs must remember that authorities always require a way to use illegal methods. Do not plead such kind of operations. Nothing is out of hand and still there is a lot of space to tackle the situation in legal ways.
    Trust the courts and let the judges decide fate of criminals or crimes. We have the history of using power against citizens. Do not push the communities to the walls and then don’t complaint rise of extremism in revenge.
    We must learn to bear every citizen and let the law to work independently, whether editorial writer has any evidence against his crimes, then why author did not go to courts to justify his claims. Speculations could not indict criminals, courts need evidence and that is part of any democratic welfare system of Government.

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  • assitha
    Jul 16, 2011 - 7:15AM

    That’s why Sri lankan captain is not willing to paly cricket in Pakistan anymore.

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  • Jul 16, 2011 - 9:56AM

    I would request all to read this article by Aatish Taseer, son of slain Salman Taseer. It would make the whole thing clear. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304911104576445862242908294.html?mod=wsjsharetwitter

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  • Saleem
    Jul 16, 2011 - 12:08PM

    We are living in a society with outdated laws and legal system. You show propaganda videos of these guys or there earlier recorded messages of bringing down in Pakistan but in our judicial system a VIDEO is not considered a concrete proof. The legal system relies heavily on ‘gawah’ or witnesses available on rent outside the courtroom but the plight is that they would provide there services for innocent and never dare say a word about a Don like Malik Ishaq. Any attempts of revamping the legal system are blocked through suo moto actions. The legal system is more politically motivated rather being competent in its own affairs. I am sure many men in uniform would have risked there lives in arresting this culprit. However just a bang and the guy goes free. Such people should not be arrested but rather shot at sight. No doubt the inept judicial system is encouraging extra judicial killings.

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  • sidra
    Jul 16, 2011 - 1:39PM

    the man gives me the heeby jeebies!! he should not be allowed to go free! how many more have to die before sufficient evidence is produced

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  • Jul 16, 2011 - 2:14PM

    Ashutosh – read the article – a telling statement is – the hatred of India stops Pakistan from fighting Islamic terrorism. Nothing can be more self-defeating than that. So one would imagine rejoicing when the news of the 21 dead in Mumbai reached certain quarters in Pakistan. That is the scary bit – the diamond worker in Zhaveri bazaar is not collateral damage – he is the target. The 35,000 killed in Pakistan are collateral damage.

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  • jazeb
    Jul 16, 2011 - 3:49PM

    pakistani court has release MaliK Muhammad Ishaq .so we should alla respect court decision

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  • jazeb
    Jul 16, 2011 - 3:53PM

    @sidra: do you sure he was criminal ?? if not put you on his place and think how he spend years in jail and tortured, can you you live one day in jail ???

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  • R S JOHAR
    Jul 16, 2011 - 8:44PM

    Pakistan continues to follow the path of self-destruction and at present direction-less with no political leader of some substance to guide the country out of this self created mess.

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  • mubeen
    Jul 16, 2011 - 8:54PM

    I living in Rahim Yar Khan and “Malik Ishaq” is residency of Rahim yar Khan, that was the days when “Sipah-e-Sahaba” was operating actively, “Malik Ishaq” was the leader of terrorist activities, residencies of Rahim Yar Khan are witnessed of his terror activities, there was so called sipah-e-shaba’s office (weapons store) in center of the city, but no one is the power to check it even “Police”. He killed many peoples around the city; even today peoples of the city surprised on the Supreme Court act because we see his activities earlier.

    Ohh…! But courts need evidence as my dear brother “Khadim Husain” & “jazeb” said “courts need evidence and that is part of any democratic welfare system of Government”.

    Courts need strong evidence and I am expecting that soon “dead body” go for court and say “Malik Ishaq” killed me…

    I ask the peoples of Pakistan please tell me what is done by CJ in their on field? Please visit and see the lower courts Judges they are operating same as they were doing three years before CJ should work also in his field because 96% of cases are in lower courts.

    As residency of Rahim Yar Khan I am not happy with the discharge of terrorist “Malik Ishaq”.

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  • Jul 16, 2011 - 11:02PM

    YOU know the government not proved any case on Mr. malik ishaq .you have no right to pointout any parsen without any mistake .thank you

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  • Reasoner
    Jul 18, 2011 - 9:55AM

    @Khadim Husain:
    Could you please tell us what’s the agenda of Sipah-e-Sahaba/Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and also tell us if these terrorists organisations are not affiliated with Taliban and Al-Qaeda ? …. Don’t try to defend a terrorist here !

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  • Jul 18, 2011 - 11:40AM

    I am at pains to see that none of my Pakistani friends have read the article that i asked them to read. No one in Pakistan wants to indulge in hard work to improve democratic conditions. I appeal to all Pakistani people to think what went wrong in 60 years. The answers would and should come from within,then only the accurate and unbiased opinion can come which will lead to the betterment of the Pakistani Society.

    Last, i can’t help but to mention once again that Pakistani civil society has an important role to play. They must come out to protest against things they do not like. We, in India, thorough peaceful demonstration have succeeded in getting acts like RTI, NREGA, RTE passed from the parliament. Remember the nature’s rule that a community or a race survives only if it changes and moves with the changing times. Stagnant society rots like hell.

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  • Jul 18, 2011 - 11:46AM

    No, mateen.saeed, I won’t advise you to escape or join them. Just hang in and try to make things better in your own way. It is difficult but for the betterment of coming generations you will have to do this. MAKE A DIFFERENCE through small things like helping those who get injured in blasts or violence or help anyone who needs your help. All these smaller things, after a period of time, shape national psyche and brings much needed confidence and a feeling of compassion in the society. Times are tough and you have to stand by your country. You cannot leave it to terrorists who want to end the future of coming generations, even before it has begun.

    Stay and make difference, my friend.

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  • Jul 18, 2011 - 1:12PM

    The repoeters of media whiel reporting such cases do study the previous cases these accused persons and then write their precious verdict on the same. Before referring Multan’s case he should study the final and well appreciated analysis by Supreme Court of Pakistan in 2001 SCMR 424 where this was brought on record that it was a case againgst persons who were already in jail. We should not take judiciary according to our whims and wishes but we should pay heed towards our laws actually. Media should be fully acquainted with all material aspects of the case being reported by it in a single sided way which is not warrented by ethics in any way.

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  • aamir
    Jul 22, 2011 - 7:52PM

    subhan ALlah.
    Its Allah’s blessings that he has been released.
    such a great man he is.
    court wouldn’t have released him if he was wrong.
    n congr8s to all da members ov sipah sahaba.
    i m very happi to see him again .
    may God bless you n protect you.Recommend

  • haider cheema
    Jul 28, 2011 - 2:47PM

    It is due to the Love with Sahaba. we congratulates Malik Ishaq. jhangvi tera qafla rawan dawan

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