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Court acquits LJ chief of hate speech

RAWALPINDI: An anti-terror court on Thursday acquitted the leader of a banned sectarian group of inciting violence in three speeches. Malik Ishaq heads the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi group. Despite being officially banned since 2001, the group operates relatively openly. “My client Malik Ishaq was acquitted in three different cases by Rana Masood, judge of anti terrorism court 2 Rawalpindi,” Ishaq’s lawyer Rao Abdur Raheem told AFP. He said the cases had been brought by the state in different parts of the country. “My client was arrested for inciting violence and making hate speeches in Jehlum, Chakwal and Attock. The judge released him because of lack of evidence,” he said. Raheem said that his client was in prison during the time the cases were registered against him in different police stations. Ishaq was arrested in February 2013 after a deadly attack on the Hazara community in Quetta that killed around 90 people. Lashkar-e-Jhangvi had claimed responsibility for the attack. He was placed under house arrest and later shifted to Bahawalpur prison, where he has been serving time under a Maintenance of Public Order ordinance. But he was also intermittently freed in order to act as mediator between the government and Punjab-based militants. 

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