The Pakistan police is mulling the arrest of Malik Ishaq, the chief of banned terror group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi who has been accused of masterminding the 2009 attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team here and targetting the minority Shia community in the country.
Pakistani police today said they are awaiting a go-ahead from Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif to arrest Ishaq after he was accused of involvement in a recent bomb attack on a Shia procession that killed 20 people.
A three-member review board headed by High Court Justice Nasir Saeed on Friday set aside the Punjab government’s plea that Ishaq's detention was necessary for maintaining law and order in the province, and ordered his release.
"The raiding team is ready and we are waiting for a go-ahead from the authorities concerned to nab Ishaq," police officer Liaquat Ali, who is leading the investigation into the bomb attack in the Khanpur district, 400 km from here, told PTI today.
Other officials, who did not want to be identified, said only the Chief Minister could clear the move to arrest Ishaq, who was freed from detention yesterday on the orders of a judicial review board of the Lahore High Court.
"We have detained some of the accused named in the FIR registered in connection with the bombing in Khanpur and will soon arrest Ishaq as well.The LeJ chief is also named in the FIR and we will have to arrest him," Ali said.
Asked why the police could not lay their hands on Ishaq when he was set free yesterday, Ali replied, "We were not given the green signal, otherwise he would have been behind bars by now."
The Chief Minister is currently in Germany and it is expected that any decision on action against Ishaq will be taken on his return.
The Punjab government had detained Ishaq after he was given bail in a case related to the 2009 terror attack on the Sri Lankan team a few months ago.
The law officer of the Home Department argued that there had been a rise in sectarian violence directed against the minority Shia community since Ishaq's release.
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 attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore.
He 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. (Source: PTI)