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Chief of Pak terror group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi released

January 20, 2012 19:01 IST
A Pakistani judicial review board on Friday ended the house arrest of Malik Ishaq, the head of the banned Lashkar-e-Jhangvi who was detained last year after his group was blamed for a string of attacks on the minority Shia community.

The three-member review board headed by Lahore high court Justice Nasir Saeed set aside the Punjab government's plea that Ishaq's detention should be extended for maintaining law and order in the province. The law officer of the Punjab home department argued that there had been a spike in sectarian violence against Shias since Ishaq was freed from prison last year.

"The government believes that Ishaq's release may create law and order situation in some parts of the province," the law officer said.

Ishaq appeared before the review board and argued against his detention. "I have committed no crime against anyone and my detention amounts to the usurping of my basic rights," he claimed.

After hearing both sides, the board ordered the ending of Ishaq'a detention. The LeJ chief was released from Lahore's Kot Lakhpat Jail in July last year after he was granted bail by the Supreme Court. He had been imprisoned for 14 years.

While he was still in prison, he was accused of masterminding the 2009 attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore. The Punjab government detained Ishaq under the maintenance of public order law in September last year following a string of deadly attacks on Shias that were blamed on the LeJ.

His detention was periodically extended thereafter by the review board. Ishaq was charged in 44 cases but convicted in only two, for which he received prison terms totaling six-and-half years. He was acquitted in 34 cases and granted bail in seven others while one case was discharged. He has been accused of involvement in the killing of at least 70 people, a majority of them Shias.

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