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SL team attack: Suspect let off for lack of proof

world Updated: Jan 21, 2012 00:36 IST
Imtiaz Ahmad
Imtiaz Ahmad
Hindustan Times
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A review board comprising judges of the Lahore high court on Friday freed Malik Ishaq, the leader of the banned Lashkar-e-Jhangvi outfit citing inadequate evidence to keep the LeJ leader in detention.

Ishaq is a suspect in the 2009 attack on Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore.

Turning down the request of the Punjab government, the board freed Ishaq saying that the police have no concrete evidence of involvement in terrorism activities against Ishaq.

It is a common theme in Pakis­tan that those accused of terrorist activities are freed on grounds of lack of evidence. The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan says threats by militant outfits force judges to free terror suspects.

On Friday, the review board held in-camera proceedings and heard the detained leader personally and the representatives of the government as well. Ishaq was produced before the board amidst tight security.

The police requested the board to further extend the detention of Ishaq but the judges observed that the police “had no concrete evidence against the detainee.” The government had requested that the detention be extended for 30 more days.

Ishaq told the board that he was not involved in any illegal or terrorist activity. He urged the board to end his detention.

The LeJ leader said he had been acquitted and granted bails in all cases but the Punjab government had issued his detention order without any evidence or grounds. The review board after hearing both sides refused to extend Malik Ishaq detention.

Ishaq was involved in 44 cases. Courts acquitted him in 34 cases and granted him bail in the remaining ten.

He was released on July 14, 2011 after 14 years of imprisonment as the Supreme Court granted him bail in the case of attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team. Later, the government approached the SC for the cancellation of his bail but the court dismissed the plea.

Thereafter, the Punjab government detained him in Rahim Yar Khan jail for 10 days under Maintenance of Public Order Act but this was extended for 60 days on Oct 25.

The same review board had on December 16, 2001 had extended his detention for another month.