LAHORE: An operation against the banned militant outfit Laskhar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) is reportedly on the cards with the federal government asking all provincial governments to launch operation against leaders and activists of the LeJ across the country immediately, sources familiar with the matter told The Express Tribune.
The decision had been taken after a number of incidents occurred in Punjab and Balochistan in which people belonging to the Shia community had been killed. In some of these cases, the LeJ took responsibility for the attacks.
Interior Minister Rehman Malik seems to be giving oversight to this as it was a letter from his office that ordered Punjab’s Chief Secretary to detain Malik Ishaq and arrest his nine associates.
Malik Ishaq, the founder of LeJ, was allegely involved in an attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team near Liberty Chowk in March 2009 and in 43 other cases in which 70 people had been killed, mostly belonging to the Shia community. He had been accorded bail in July, 2011.
The letter was written after reports regarding highly objectionable activities of LeJ founder Malik Ishaq and his close aides surfaced. Ishaq and his co-accused Syed Ghulam Rasool Shah had been released in July by the Lahore High Court on bail. Despite being put on the fourth schedule, which limited their movement and activities, the two were undertaking an expansive tour of Punjab, whipping up emotion, sometimes to deadly effect.
The Punjab government had placed Malik Ishaq under house arrest for 10 days, but after a letter from the federal government, the provincial government on September 26 decided to place Ishaq in a detention facility for 30 days under Maintenance of Public Order (MPO).
Rehman Malik said Malik Ishaq and Ghulam Rasool, both had been detained and further action was being taken in this regard.
On the other hand, on October 10,2011 the Punjab government had filed a review petition before the Supreme Court for the cancelation of bail of Malik Ishaq while another petition has been filed for the cancellation of the bail of two co-accused of Malik Ishaq in the same case against ATC before the Lahore High Court (LHC).
Ghulam Rasool Shah, who is also a co-accused in some terrorism cases registered against Ishaq, too was earlier confined to his hometown, Bahawalnagar. Intelligence and law enforcement agencies’ reports revealed that the banned organisation’s leaders are engaged in highly objectionable activities, whipping up emtions which may spark sectarian violence in the country, particularly in areas which they visited as part of public tours.
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