LAHORE: The Supreme Court (SC), on Friday, dismissed a review petition against bail granted to Malik Ishaq, former head of banned organisation, Lashkar-i-Jhangvi, accused of plotting the attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in 2009.
A two-member bench of the SC comprising Justice Tasadduq Hussain Jilani and Justice Asif Saeed Khosa held proceedings at the SC’s Lahore registry on a petition filed by the Punjab government against the bail granted to Ishaq on July 11, 2011 after spending 14 years in jail since 1997.
The bench held that that bail had been granted to the accused on merit and could not be withdrawn. Friday was the first date of hearing of the petition and it was dismissed without even a notice being issued to the respondent.
The Punjab government, through the Prosecution Department, submitted that the SC while granting bail to Ishaq had observed that ‘there is no admissible legal evidence’ which proved his involvement in the attack. It said this observation of the SC would influence the trial against the accused. It prayed that the court rectify its observation, the appropriate way for which was to cancel his bail. However the court, dismissed the petition and observed that the SC observations would not influence the trial court.
The SC had accepted Ishaq’s bail petition after it was rejected by Lahore High Court. He is accused of plotting the attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team while he was in prison. Malik has so far been accused of 44 murders. He has been acquitted of the charges in 34 cases while bail has been granted in the remaining 10 cases.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 12th, 2011.