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Pak: Lashkar-e-Jhangvi chief sent to judicial custody

August 31, 2012 15:16 IST

A Pakistani court on Friday remanded Malik Ishaq, chief of the banned Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, to judicial custody for 14 days, a day after he was arrested on his return to the country from Saudi Arabia.

The court of the judicial magistrate in Model Town area of Lahore sent Ishaq to the Kot Lakhpat Jail after a preliminary hearing.

Ishaq was produced in court amidst tight security.

Security agencies yesterday arrested Ishaq as he returned to Pakistan after performing the Umrah pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia in violation of his bail.

Geo News channel reported that Ishaq was detained in Saudi Arabia and brought back to Pakistan.

There was no official word in this regard.

Following his arrest, Ishaq was taken to an undisclosed location for questioning.

Police officials said he was arrested in connection with a case registered against him at a police station in Lahore in August for making a speech that incited hatred against Shias.

Security sources told PTI that Ishaq had violated his bail by travelling to Saudi Arabia about a week before the Eid-ul-Fitr festival.

In January last year, a provincial review board comprising judges of the Lahore High Court turned down Punjab Police's request for Ishaq's continued detention and ordered his release.

After being imprisoned for 14 years, Ishaq was released from Kot Lakhpat Jail in July last year when he was granted bail by the Supreme Court.

While still in prison, he was accused of masterminding the 2009 attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore that killed eight persons.

After Ishaq's release, Pakistan saw a surge in the killing of Shias across the country and Shia organisations blamed him for the violence.

After recent killings of Shias, pressure had increased on the Punjab government to act against Ishaq, who continued making speeches inciting violence against Shias.

Ishaq was charged in 44 cases but convicted in only two, for which he received prison terms totalling 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.

The LeJ chief had been in jail since 1997, when he was arrested for allegedly killing 12 members of Fida Hussain Ghalvi's family.

He was accused of killing 58 others in separate incidents of sectarian violence.

Ishaq, one of the founders of the LeJ, was granted bail by the apex court after the prosecution failed to prove his involvement in the attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team.

However, reports by intelligence and law enforcement agencies have stated that Ishaq is still engaged in "highly objectionable activities" that could trigger sectarian violence in Punjab.

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