RAWALPINDI - The Anti Terrorism Court (ATC) Rawalpindi on Thursday gave “clean chit” to banned outfit Laskhar-i-Jhangvi (LJ) Head Malik Ishaq along with 10 others allegedly involved in three cases relating to terrorism, hate-speech and inciting violence.
The court judge Rana Masood Akhtar issued acquittal orders for Malik Ishaq and 10 others on grounds of lack of substantial evidence for further proceeding.
However, Ishaq would be remained in Bahawalpur Jail as he has been facing many more cases registered in other courts of the province including terrorism and provoking violence through hate-speeches against minorities.
Rao Abdur Raheem, who had filed an application under section 265-A on May 22 with the ATC, while talking to The Nation said that the allegations leveled against his clients were baseless and the court has given a clean chit to his client Malik Ishaq along with eleven others, accused in three cases, saying the evidence were not sufficient for further proceeding.
He was of view that the government framed his client in baseless cases to please the West. “Malik Ishaq will not be released from Bahawalpur Jail as there are many other cases he has been facing since long,” Rao replied in response of a query.
The tug-of-war between LJ Chief Malik Ishaq and the government and its law enforcement agencies is not new as he was arrested on the charges of killing over 100 people, most of them Shia Muslims, and the attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in March 2009.
The Lahore police had arrested Malik Ishaq at Allama Iqbal Airport Lahore upon his return from Saudi Arabia after performing Umra in 2012.
The leader of LJ was released from the Kot Lakhpat jail on July 2012 when the apex court had granted him bail in the Sri Lankan cricket team terrorist attack case.
He was then detained in Rahim Yar Khan Jail for 10 days under the Maintenance of Public Order Act but later the detention was extended for 60 days on October 25.
He remained in prison for nearly 15 years over his alleged involvement in numerous incidents of sectarian violence.
Malik Ishaq dissociated himself from Sipah-i-Sahaba for his violent behaviour towards minorities and found his own faction. However, he rejoined after negotiating with Ahl-e-Sunnat Wal Jamaat chief Ahmad Ludhianvi.
The United State has also declared Ishaq as terrorist and inserted his name in the list of international terrorists.