Malik Ishaq held for two more weeks in murder case

Published: December 25, 2014
Malik Ishaq, the head of banned sectarian militant group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ). PHOTO: REUTERS

Malik Ishaq, the head of banned sectarian militant group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ). PHOTO: REUTERS

LAHORE: The leader of a banned sectarian militant group who was set to walk free from jail is being held for two more weeks in a murder case, officials said Thursday.

Malik Ishaq, the former head of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) which is dedicated to killing Shias, was to be released on Thursday after the Punjab provincial government withdrew a request to extend his detention under public order laws.

But he has now been detained in a murder case, a police official said, and is being held in the central city of Multan.

The news of Ishaq comes with the country ramping up its anti-terror strategy after an attack on an army-run school this month killed 150 people, spurring the country to set up military courts and drop its moratorium on capital punishment in terror cases.

“Ishaq was sent to jail on judicial remand until January 6 by an anti-terrorist court on Wednesday and he will be produced before the court again on January 7,” Ghulam Mohiuddin told AFP.

LeJ has claimed responsibility for numerous bloody attacks, including two bombings targeting Shias in Quetta in 2013 that killed a total of nearly 200 people.

Punjab Home Minister Shujah Khanzada also confirmed Ishaq’s arrest and said the government had decided not to release Ishaq, who is still facing several cases, because of recent security tensions.

“The government has arrested him again… on the basis of new cases registered against him,” he said.

Khanzada did not give details on the nature of the new cases.

Ishaq, named a “Specially Designated Global Terrorist” by the US, has been implicated in numerous murder cases and was accused of masterminding a 2009 attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore which killed eight people.

An anti-terror court in May cleared him of inciting violence and of making speeches which fomented hate but he was held under maintenance of public order laws.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif also said on Thursday that the country will set up military courts for terror-related cases, as part of an ambitious anti-terrorism plan.

Six convicts have already been hanged after Sharif lifted a moratorium on executions in terror cases, and the military has stepped up operations against insurgent bases in the tribal northwest.

Officials said Monday that Pakistan plans to execute around 500 militants in the coming weeks.

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Reader Comments (13)

  • Haider
    Dec 25, 2014 - 3:56PM

    This terrorist has been playing with the judicial system of Pakistan for so long now. He should be among the first to be tried and ultimately hanged by the military courts.


  • afroze
    Dec 25, 2014 - 4:51PM

    Profile of Malik ishaq – operational chief of LEJ –

    On the morning of Aug. 30, 2012, the freshly-released cleric arrived at a packed-to-capacity mosque in the Bhakkar district of Punjab, Pakistan’s most populous and important province. Flanked by 15 weapon-wielding guards, he alighted from a double-cabin vehicle and proceeded towards the stage. What followed was a blistering, 45-minute monologue. Ishaq claimed that during his incarceration the Pakistani authorities had pleaded with him, repeatedly offering him a ‘get out of jail’ card. “They told me, stop speaking against them [Shiites] and we will free you,” he blustered, adding that: “I told them, I would rather die!” The ebullient crowd roared, punctuating his words with cries of “Shia Kafir [Shias Infidel],” and hurled a repertoire of abuses at the late leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini (Iran is a predominantly Shiite country). On his way out, Ishaq vowed to rescue his 42 comrades who then were on death row. In 2013, at the same mosque, the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi chief addressed a crowd of 1,000. The gathering was monitored by a handful of policemen in civil clothes.

    on Feb. 6, 2014, the United States catapulted him onto the world stage, adding his name to their list of most wanted global terrorists. In 2009, the extremist was flown on a special chartered flight from his cell in Lahore to the garrison town of Rawalpindi to holds talks with gunmen holed up inside the army’s general headquarters. One of the armed assailants had named Ishaq as the mastermind behind the assault.

    But will he ever be convicted? It will be difficult, noting that just to produce him in a court is a major task. There are cases registered against him in several cities across Punjab. He can’t be moved around daily. A lot of security is needed, and the courts refuse to proceed until he is present. But that is only part of the story. Potential witnesses are routinely bullied and intimidated to back out. During one particular hearing, the judge attempted to conceal his identity by burying his face in his hands, according to one media report. Ishaq accosted the frightened arbitrator, mockingly reciting the name of the judge’s children. The judge quickly abandoned the case.


  • zehra
    Dec 25, 2014 - 5:32PM

    Why hasn’t he straight away been hung till death yet? Why do we even have a court if he can roam around freely only to take more lives in the future? If he isn’t one of the 500 who are yet to be hanged.. then what are the ones being hung ??


  • Roc
    Dec 25, 2014 - 5:40PM

    Holding him in detention is good but he must be charged as well. I believe India will view this as a test to our new found commitment to ending all terrorism.


  • o
    Dec 25, 2014 - 6:02PM

    This is a tell-tale sign of PML N links with banned outfits.Recommend

  • OurKidsArentSafeYet
    Dec 25, 2014 - 7:29PM

    As long as men like him are allowed out of jail, we must not stop pressurizing Our Pak Leaders to sever all ties with their cousins from banned outfits. It’s not India now, it’s safety of children now… even if some believe “India was behind” Peshawar Massacre, period!


  • K. Irshad
    Dec 25, 2014 - 11:04PM

    Malik Ishaq, the former head of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) who had been involved in the kllings of Shias should be tried in new Military Court and be hanged within days if found guilty.


  • Parvez
    Dec 25, 2014 - 11:20PM

    @o: Spot on .


  • TheUndrTaker
    Dec 26, 2014 - 12:19AM

    All these PUNJAB based militants are “Hand-in-Glove” with PMLN. When & where ever you saw threats & coercion by this Party. That was because of reliance & support by these terrorist fellows. They also bring their hundreds of students & followers to fill polls. Whole PUNJAB knows this.


  • Raza
    Dec 26, 2014 - 9:02AM

    He must be hanged.


  • Babar Malik
    Dec 26, 2014 - 10:24AM

    This would be the test case for PMLN government. The have been accused of enjoying good relationships with these extremists. Especially, some of their parliamentarians are said to have been on terrorists back. In my opinion such criminal heads SHOULD NOT BE spared if we really are serious in bringing peace in our country.


  • Praful R Shah
    Dec 26, 2014 - 10:34AM

    Pakistani judiciary is in cahoots with criminals. They are either incompetent or scared of them. Are they blind or they have lot of trust in criminals? God only knows. They should be tried in military courts.


  • Praful R Shah
    Dec 26, 2014 - 10:36AM

    Will never happen.


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