Shias demand trial of LeJ chief
24 February, 2013
QUETTA: Shias on Saturday demanded that the head of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi be put on trial, a day after he was arrested following deadly sectarian attacks in Quetta.
Malik Ishaq was held on Friday after two recent bombings in Quetta city targeting the Hazara community killed more than 180 people, sparking nationwide protests.
The outlawed group claimed responsibility for both attacks.
"We have always been demanding arrest of all those involved in any act of sectarian violence, irrespective of their party affiliation," said Abdul Khaliq Hazara, leader of the Hazara Democratic Party. "Ishaq must be brought to justice and punished for involvement in violence," he added.
Ishaq, who has been arrested before, was released by a court on bail in July 2011, even though he has been implicated in dozens of murders.
He was detained briefly in 2012 for inciting sectarian hatred and has also been accused of masterminding the 2009 attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore, which wounded several players and killed eight Pakistanis.
His latest arrest - which came a day after the army denied any links to LeJ - should not be an 'eye wash', said Sajid Naqvi, another party leader. "We demand his trial and the authorities should provide protection to witnesses who would like to appear in the court," he said.
Meanwhile, Interior Minister Rehman Malik on Saturday said Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) had safe havens in Punjab.
The Punjab government should take action against the criminals of the banned outfit, he told reporters at a ceremony at Police Lines.