Detention of 'mastermind' of attack on Lankan team extended



Lahore: A Pakistani judicial panel on Friday extended by a month the detention of banned Lashkar-e-Jhangvi chief Malik Ishaq, the alleged mastermind of a terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore two years ago.

The three-judge review board of the Lahore High Court extended the detention of both Ishaq and his deputy Ghulam Rasool for 30 days on the request of an officer of the Home Department of Punjab province.

Both men were produced before the board under tight security.

Ishaq's detention is set to end on December 23 while that of Rasool will end on December 21.

Ishaq was released from Kot Lakhpat Jail in Lahore on July 14 after being imprisoned for 14 years.

He was freed after he was granted bail by the Supreme Court.

Following a string of deadly attacks on the minority Shia community that were blamed on the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Ishaq and Rasool were detained under the Maintenance of Public Order in September.

The Punjab government later shifted Ishaq to a prison in Rahim Yar Khan and his detention was periodically extended. 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.

Last month, the Supreme Court dismissed the Punjab government's review petition seeking the cancellation of bail granted to Ishaq.

The court said authorities had failed to produce any concrete evidence against Ishaq.

Besides the terror attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore in 2009, Ishaq was accused of involvement in the killing of at least 70 people, a majority of them Shias.

Six policemen were killed and six Sri Lankan players, a driver and an assistant coach were injured in the attack on the cricket team’s bus in Lahore in March 2009.

PTI