Pakistan frees banned leader
Malik Ishaq, the chief of banned Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) who had been detained for the last three years under a public security order for making “provocative” speeches, was released today after the government did not seek extension in his detention. The government had detained Ishaq under Maintenance of Public Order (16 MPO) after the Supreme Court granted him bail in July 2011.
The Punjab government on Monday produced Ishaq before a provincial review board comprising three judges of the Lahore High Court headed by Justice Manzoor in a high security here. The officials of the home department, however, did not seek extension in his detention.
“Appeal for further extension in detention of Malik Ishaq is dismissed as withdrawn,” the review board said. “Malik Ishaq is a free man now,” an official said. The Shia community has strongly criticised the government for not seeking extension in ?the detention of Ishaq. Malik Ishaq, the influential co-founder of a Sipah-e-Sahaba breakaway group also linked with Al Qaeda and the Taliban had told an Urdu daily in Oct 1997 that he was involved in the killing of 102 Shias. He was arrested the same year, and eventually charged in connection with 44 different cases, including the attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in March 2009.
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