‘LeJ chief involved in bomb attack on Shias’

‘LeJ chief involved in bomb attack on Shias’ Lahore: A Pakistani judicial review board on Saturday ended the house arrest of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi chief Malik Ishaq, detained last year for attacks on Shias, even as the police has accused him and 14 others of role in a bomb attack on a Shia procession that killed 20 people on January 15.

Pakistani police today accused Ishaq and 14 others of involvement in bombing of a Shia 'Chehlum' procession of Hazrat Imam Hussain, earlier this week.

The move came hours after a judicial review board of the Lahore High Court ended the house arrest of Ishaq, who was detained last year after his group was blamed for a string of attacks on the minority Shia community.

Police in Khanpur town of Punjab province registered a case against 15 people for alleged involvement in the January 15 bombing of a 'Chehlum' procession.

They included Ishaq, Shafiq Dahar, Ghulam Muhammad, Muhammad Yaqoob, Muhammad Usman and 10 unidentified persons.

Police registered an FIR against the 20 people under the Anti-Terrorism Act while acting on a complaint by Imdad Hussain of Mauza Jetha Bhatha.

Liquat Ali, the police officer investigating the bombing, said that he was waiting for a nod from his superiors for raiding the residence of Ishaq and arresting him.

"We have started raiding the homes of the other accused named in the FIR but have not yet proceeded against Ishaq as he is a high-profile personality," he said.

The judicial review board issued an order for freeing Ishaq after setting aside the Punjab government's plea that Ishaq's detention should be extended for maintaining law and order in the province.

Ishaq was released from Lahore's Kot Lakhpat Jail in July last year after he was granted bail by the Supreme Court. He had been imprisoned for 14 years.

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

The Punjab government detained Ishaq under the Maintenance of Public Order law in September last year following a string of deadly attacks on Shias that were blamed on the LeJ.

His detention was periodically extended thereafter by the review board.

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.