Malik Ishaq enjoyed Punjab government’s financial assistance ever since the Sharif’s came to power in 2008, officials on condition of anonymity told The Express Tribune.
The accused terror kingpin belonging to banned Sunni outfit Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), nominated in 44 cases in which 70 people were killed, allegedly received a monthly stipend, during imprisonment, from the Punjab government.
Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah confirmed the disbursement but clarified that it was given to Ishaq’s family, not him, as per orders of the court. However, upon further investigation, it was revealed that nor was there any such disbursements during former president Musharraf’s tenure, nor was there any court order pertaining to the matter.
Meanwhile, one of the key witnesses in Ishaq’s court case, Fida Hussain Ghalvi, is receiving police protection to avoid any untoward incidents, highlighting concerns arising from Intelligence and Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) after the release of Malik Ishaq.
Ghalvi while talking to The Express Tribune confirmed that on the direction of Multan City Police Officer Amir Zulifqar, Multan and Vehari police have provided two policemen to him for security protection. Furthemore, Ghalvi has also relocated from his native town out of fear for his own life. He had been currently residing in two different locations, moving back and forth for security purposes.
However, leaving Ghalvi out, two other key witnesses and one complainant have not been provided any security as of yet and fear for their lives. The men identified as Khadim, Sikandar and Abdul Ghafour (complainant) are the only people to have survived the court cases which have taken 20 lives, including eight people who were murdered purely for being associated with the case.
“I can be attacked at any time and I do not know if I will be alive tomorrow or not, as you know almost everyone who was a witness or a relative has been slain,’ said Sikandar, who now operating a cloth store in Dokota on Multan Road.
“When Ishaq was in jail eight people were killed mercilessly by the same group,” said Khadim Hussain, who is now a farmer in Dokota.
The complainant (Abdul Ghafour) of the first case against Ishaq in which 12 people were massacred during a majlis, said he has been awaiting justice for 14 years but has completely lost hope since the release of Ishaq.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 16th, 2011.