ATC acquits Malik Ishaq in three terrorism cases

Court says evidence against LJ man not sufficient for further proceedings

RAWALPINDI – An Anti-Terrorist Court on Thursday acquitted Malik Ishaq, chief of proscribed Lashkar-i-Jhangvi (LJ) militant group, in three cases relating to terrorism.

Judge Rana Masood Akhtar issued acquittal orders for Ishaq in the cases, saying the evidence against Ishaq was not sufficient for further proceedings. The cases had been registered against Ishaq at police stations in Attock, Hazro and Talagang and he was also previously arrested over charges relating hate-speech and inciting violence.

Having faced charges relating to killing of more than 100 people, most of them members of Shia community, and the attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in March 2009, Ishaq has spent around 15 years in jails. He was initially a member of Sipah-i-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP), a banned group but later dissociated himself from it for his alleged ‘violent policies’ and formed his own outfit.

The LJ was proscribed by the government as a terror group soon after its inception in early 1990s. After reaching an agreement with Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ) chief Ahmed Ludhianvi, Ishaq joined as second-in-command of the former SSP in 2012.

In Feb 2014, the United States added Ishaq to its list of most wanted international terrorists along with keeping the LJ on a list of international terrorist organisations.

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