Malik Ishaq was set to join Islamic State before his death, says official

Published: November 2, 2015
Slain LeJ chief would have become the chief of Da’ish  in Pakistan. PHOTO: REUTERS

Slain LeJ chief would have become the chief of Da’ish in Pakistan. PHOTO: REUTERS

ISLAMABAD: Claims are reverberating within Pakistan about accelerated efforts in recent months by the Islamic State (IS), also known as Da’ish, to gain a foothold in the country. Authorities have even arrested some local militants believed to be linked with the Middle Eastern extremist group.

But the biggest and perhaps more potent threat from
IS was yet to come until security agencies in July this year discovered that Malik Ishaq, the co-founder of the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) sectarian extremist group, was all set to formally join Da’ish just days before he was killed in a police encounter in southern Punjab.

Malik Ishaq: The life and death of a terror kingpin

Ishaq, accused of being behind sectarian killings and attacks, was killed along with 13 others including his two sons on July 29 in a firefight when his loyalists attacked a police convoy in Muzaffargarh.

There were reports that the LeJ chief was in contact with Da’ish but the extent of his involvement with the ultra-extremist group has never been told before. A security official with the knowledge of the development told The Express Tribune that Ishaq was to become the chief of IS in Pakistan.

“Some material such as flags and pamphlets showing allegiance to Da’ish was confiscated from them [LeJ supporters],” said the official, who requested not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the issue.

LeJ chief Malik Ishaq killed in Muzaffargarh police encounter

The potential threat posed by IS through local extremist outfits such as the LeJ then prompted the federal government to ban the group in Pakistan. The move was aimed at giving a legal arm to the police and security agencies to act swiftly against any individual or group that may attempt to join hands with Da’ish.

“The killing of Ishaq was no less than a coup against the possible emergence of Da’ish in the country,” remarked another official.

Ishaq was known to have developed close links with al Qaeda and was accused of some of the deadliest attacks in Pakistan, such as the 2009 assault on the Sri Lankan team in Lahore.

Anti-terror court acquits Malik Ishaq of hate speech

But the official said with the significant downgrading of al Qaeda in Pakistan coupled with stringent new anti-terror measures, the LeJ was struggling to find financial resources.  “That was the main reason the LeJ was trying to join Da’ish,” he said.

Officially, Pakistan is still adamant that IS does not pose an immediate threat to Pakistan.

At his recent weekly briefing, Foreign Office spokesperson Qazi Khalilullah said Pakistan was cognisant of the threat posed by Da’ish and had alerted security agencies accordingly, but made it clear that the group had no footprint in Pakistan.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 2nd, 2015.


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Reader Comments (14)

  • Atif Shakoor
    Nov 2, 2015 - 10:16AM

    This man has had repeated Saudi visits in the last few years before his death. Authorities must investigate this link as to who did he visit and meet in Saudi Arabia.Recommend

  • Junaid
    Nov 2, 2015 - 12:53PM

    Thanks Punjab Police to get rid of him this creature.Recommend

  • Defence Analyst
    Nov 2, 2015 - 2:17PM

    @Junaid: Thanks Pakistan army not punjab police because Malik Ishaq was PMLN’s asset and they were not only supporting him but they were also supporting other banned sectarian groups too for getting votes.Recommend

  • z
    Nov 2, 2015 - 5:17PM

    @Defence Analyst, thanks for the correction, I knew that pak army was behind him and kept him alive during Musharraf’s era too. Please let the nation know, how many more like Malik Ishaq are on army’s payroll.Recommend

  • kHI
    Nov 2, 2015 - 6:40PM

    Shias have been crying for decades to put an end to LeJ and its political wing ASWJ but the nobody took action. Must act soon before ASWJ takes on the face of ISIS in Pakistan. Recommend

  • Waseem
    Nov 2, 2015 - 7:52PM

    Our planet is more safe without people like him. Thanks Punjab Police.Recommend

  • Defence Analyst
    Nov 2, 2015 - 8:16PM

    @z: Dear z, leadership matters the most, now current leadership of Pak army is not backing any sectarian or terrorist group but yes in past army was not taking action against them and political parties were using them as their assets especially PMLN. Rana Sanaullah is involved in so many sectarian and political killings but he is law mininster of punjab. Recommend

  • Milli
    Nov 2, 2015 - 10:54PM

    Anything can be expected from these opportunists. They are only sincere with their corrupt souls. Good riddance!Recommend

  • sabi
    Nov 2, 2015 - 11:48PM

    @Defence Analyst:
    The moniker you use says it all! Jack of all trade master of none.Recommend

  • Abdul Rahim
    Nov 3, 2015 - 12:22AM

    well is his circle broken and his factory of producing terrorists closed? A challenge for govt and authoritiesRecommend

  • TooTrue
    Nov 3, 2015 - 1:18AM

    Well done police. Let’s kill them all.Recommend

  • Ravi
    Nov 3, 2015 - 2:38AM

    @Defence Analyst:
    You both guys are arguing that PML-N and army support for this guys but rest of the country is blaming RAW Recommend

  • amin
    Nov 3, 2015 - 6:54AM

    I want to know how could I get those marks on my forehead, I want to make a fashion statement!Recommend

  • Rizwan
    Nov 4, 2015 - 12:41AM

    I don’t understand why they had ever been able to convict him in the past. Due process is a double edged sword.Recommend

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