Malik Ishaq: The life and death of a terror kingpin

Published: July 29, 2015
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LeJ chief along with 13 militants were killed in Muzaffargarh on Wednesday during a shootout after gunmen attacked a police convoy and freed him as he was being moved. PHOTO: REUTERS

LeJ chief along with 13 militants were killed in Muzaffargarh on Wednesday during a shootout after gunmen attacked a police convoy and freed him as he was being moved. PHOTO: REUTERS

MULTAN: Malik Ishaq, along with his two sons and 11 other militants, was killed in a ‘shootout’ in Muzaffargarh on Wednesday as he reportedly attempted to escape police custody.

Ishaq was the leader of banned outfit Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), a sectarian terrorist organisation closely aligned with al Qaeda, together with the Tehreek-e-Taliban and Jundullah.

Ishaq along with Akram Lahori and Riaz Basra formed LeJ in 1996, all former members of another proscribed organisation Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP), after developing differences with the SSP leadership.

Read: LeJ chief Malik Ishaq killed in Muzaffargarh police encounter

Besides allegations of hate speech and being even involved in some of the worst sectarian attacks, including deadly attacks on the Shia Hazara community, Ishaq was also accused of executing the attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore in 2009.

After spending 14 years behind bars, the LeJ chief was released on bail by the Supreme Court in July 2011 after the prosecution failed to produce any concrete evidence which could implicate him in any of the 44 cases of culpable homicide he was accused in. Since then, he was mostly remained under house arrest.

Read: Court releases terror kingpin, alleged killer of 70

In last 20 years, as many as 72 judges and prosecution lawyers requested to shift to another case, went on leave or refused to hear the case on personal grounds against the LeJ chief, his sons, deputy chief Ghulam Rasool and his sons.

Ishaq was also put on a US list of global terrorists and the group he founded has claimed responsibility for the deaths of hundreds of civilians.

Following is a timeline of significant incidents since the LeJ leader’s release till his death:

Decemeber 2011: A review board of the Lahore High Court (LHC) extended the detention period imposed by the Punjab government Punjab Maintenance of Public Order Ordinance 1960 ; however, he was released by LHC in January 2012.

January 2012: The LeJ chief attended the Difa-e-Pakistan Council in Multan. Although ex-spymaster Hamid Gul denied his presence at the rally, LeJ spokesperson confirmed that Ishaq was on the stage at the rally.

August 2012: Ishaq was again arrested from Lahore’s Allama Iqbal International Airport upon his return from Saudi Arabia after performing Umrah only to be set free after 12 days.

September 2012: Ishaq was given the position of vice president in the banned Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamat (ASWJ), formed by remnants of SSP, after differences erupted between ASWJ chairperson Ahmed Ali Ludhianvi and Ishaq on organisational matters within the ASWJ.

Read: Malik Ishaq made vice president of banned ASWJ

January 2013: Ishaq’s organisation claimed responsibility for a terrorist attack at a crowded snooker club on Alamdar Road, Quetta, which left at least 93 people dead and over 150 wounded.

February 2013: LeJ claimed responsibility for another horrific attack on Shia Hazaras when a massive bomb ripped though a busy market in a Hazara neighbourhood of Quetta, killing at least 67 people and injuring nearly 200.

Read: Terror revisits Quetta

February 2013: Following the attacks on the Hazara community in Quetta, Ishaq was detained by authorities under the Maintenance of Public ordinance at his residence in Rahim Yar Khan.

December 2014: After a detention of six months, a three-member review board of the LHC dismissed the provincial government’s application seeking extension of Ishaq’s detention. However, just days after LHC’s decision, he was again detained for two more weeks after an Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) Multan sent him on judicial remand to Multan jail.

July 29, 2015: The LeJ chief, along with 13 militants, was killed in Muzaffargarh during a ‘shootout’ after gunmen attacked a police convoy and freed him as he was being moved, police said.

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Reader Comments (14)

  • Acorn Guts
    Jul 29, 2015 - 6:52PM

    What an absolutely vile creatureRecommend

  • nomi
    Jul 29, 2015 - 7:27PM

    If this person was really responsible for killing innocent people then I think it’s a good news for the people of this country who are fed up of these terrorists who have done nothing but destroyed the image of our religion and fed their own bellies with fire. Time to real justice has now begun Mr. Ishaq. Recommend

  • nomi
    Jul 29, 2015 - 7:27PM

    If this person was really responsible for killing innocent people then I think it’s a good news for the people of this country who are fed up of these terrorists who have done nothing but destroyed the image of our religion and fed their own bellies with fire. Time to real justice has now begun Mr. Ishaq and no you will not be bailed out this time. Recommend

  • Saimah
    Jul 29, 2015 - 8:50PM

    All this happen when Malik Ishaq and his colleagues were in a police custody. It clearly shows that this is a fake police encounter. As Shahbaz Sharif has a long history of extra judicial killings in their previous governments. Last year, it was done in Model towen. I am not saying Malik ishaq was innocent. But this kind of acts will be producing more extremism. on this people say unusual situations requires unusual actions. He was not a simple criminal who kills for the sake of money. It might be true but he also had ideological convictions. So please don’t fool public. Make your institutions strong.Recommend

  • Anon
    Jul 29, 2015 - 9:13PM

    It’s great that he is finally dead and people understand that these guys can be killed but the cacklash from his organization is going to be terrible and lead to many more deaths of innocents and the few non corrupt policeRecommend

  • Ali Saqib
    Jul 29, 2015 - 11:35PM

    Good job PMLn and Punjab police.Recommend

  • Kib
    Jul 29, 2015 - 11:45PM

    To the extent that this sends a strong message, the ‘encounter’ cannot be faulted. However, extrajudicial killings indicate either a predatory State or a severely crippled judicial system. That is not something to be too happy about.

    It would be much more far sighted to bring health to an ailing judicial system than to allow the State become predatory in the name of ‘exception’.Recommend

  • Dr.M.M. Khan
    Jul 30, 2015 - 2:50AM

    What a bone chilling history of a man. He appeared to be above the law. He ruled by fear!Recommend

  • irfan
    Jul 30, 2015 - 6:29AM

    Well done PM, CM and Punjab police. I salute the brave police officers and jawans who successfully foiled this terror chief’s escape plan and request the prime minister to award Hilal- e-Jurat to the police officials who conducted this operation.Recommend

  • ASIF
    Aug 1, 2015 - 12:53AM

    Well Done ”Counter Terrorism Department” Well Done Multan PoliceRecommend

  • Sameer
    Aug 2, 2015 - 8:08AM

    As Shahbaz Sharif has a long history of extra judicial killings in their previous governments. Last year, it was done in Model towen. I am not saying Malik ishaq was innocent. But this kind of acts will be producing more extremism. on this people say unusual situations requires unusual actions.Recommend

  • Umar jamil
    Aug 2, 2015 - 8:58AM

    News repoter:
    28 people are killed.No police man killed even it is a sudden attack.To escape their must be 20-25 people to cover and 10 vehicle. This claim that it is without roots.Recommend

  • Umar jamil
    Aug 2, 2015 - 9:08AM

    28 people are killed. No police man is killed even it is a sudden attack. 20-25 people are required to cover and 10 vehicle. All Laskar at the same time ! This claims that it has no roots.
    Think before your eyes, hope fully you will get answer thank you.Recommend

  • Nov 2, 2015 - 12:43PM

    @Umar jamil:
    Your name says a lot.Recommend

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