Following a spike in sectarian violence and reservations over his vitriolic sermons against the Shia community, district authorities in Rahim Yar Khan placed Malik Ishaq, leader of the banned organisation Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), under house arrest for 10 days late Thursday night.
Ishaq was detained a day after 29 Shias were killed in Mastung in an attack claimed by the LeJ.
A police contingent has been deployed outside Ishaq’s house and people have been barred from visiting him, district police officer Sohail Chatta said while talking to The Express Tribune.
Government of Punjab has given orders for Ishaq’s house arrest, said District Coordination Officer Rahim Yar Khan, Ahmed Javed Qazi, while talking to The Express Tribune.
Ishaq had received his passport to perform Umrah a few days ago, sources said.
He was released on bail in July after nearly 14 years behind bars over his alleged role in numerous sectarian murders and the attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team.
Ishaq was acquitted in 34 of the 44 cases against him, involving the killing of 70 people, and granted bail in the remaining 10 cases, including the attack on Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore.
However, sectarian tensions resurfaced following his release, prompted by his anti-Shia sermons across the country.
According to an official document prepared by a department working under Punjab government, available with The Express Tribune, Ishaq vowed to continue to kill “the enemies of the Sahaba (Prophet Muhammad PBUH’s companions)” at a seminar on September 4.
“LeJ is not a terrorist outfit. It was set up to ensure proper respect for the companions of the Holy Prophet (PBUH),” Ishaq reportedly said.
Earlier, on Sunday, members of Ishaq’s entourage clashed with the Shia community in Muzaffargarh district, resulting in at least two deaths and ten injuries.
Ishaq had been flouting government’s orders by travelling across the province, since he is on an anti-terrorism watch list and is required to request permission before leaving the jurisdiction of his local police station.
WITH ADDITIONAL INPUT BY ASAD KHARAL IN LAHORE.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 23rd, 2011.