Dreaded LJ hitman Malik Ishaq walks free

Feared Lashkar-e-Jhangvi hitman and the alleged mastermind of the attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore on March 3, 2009, Malik Muhammad Ishaq was released from Kot Lakhpat Jail on Monday in the presence of more than a hundred supporters.
Ishaq was granted bail by the Supreme Court’s Lahore Registry on July 11 after the prosecution failed to prove his involvement in the case. Keeping in view the sensitivity of the case, Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) Judge Tahir Pervaiz visited the jail himself to complete the formalities and sign the release documents. Sources said Ishaq furnished two surety bounds of Rs 50,000 each in the presence of the judge against his bail, per the orders of Supreme Court and after the verification of each document, the judge allowed Ishaq to walk free.
Three pickup trucks carrying Ishaq’s heavily-armed accomplices were allowed to enter the jail premises to escort their leader. Maulana Ahmed Ludhianvi, head of the banned Sipah-e-Sahaba also came to escort Ishaq away from the jail. Talking to reporters, Ludhianvi said the group had followed the law to secure Ishaq’s release and that they would continue to “protect the honour of the Sahaba.”
Malik Ishaq said that he had worked for the propagation of Islam and would continue doing so come what may. He said he had never been involved in any terror activity. Earlier, a division bench of Justice MA Shahid Siddiqui and Justice Asif Saeed Khosa had reprimanded the prosecution for failing to establish the case and destroying evidence and granted Ishaq bail in the case of attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team.
The bench had noted that the prosecution produced only two witnesses who only stated that they had overheard a conversation amongst some people planning the attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team to secure Ishaq’s freedom. Ishaq’s lawyer, Qazi Misbahul Hassan, had argued that his client had been imprisoned for over 12 years and the prosecution had failed to produce any cogent evidence which could implicate him in any offence.
He said his client had been acquitted in 34 and was granted bail in six cases whereas one case was discharged of the 44 mostly fabricated cases. He said all the cases had been registered after his arrest and he was convicted in two cases only wherein he was punished for one-and-a-half year and five years, respectively.



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