LAHORE (July 14, 2011) : Malik Muhammad Ishaq, alleged mastermind of the attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team at Liberty Chowk in 2009, was released from Kot Lakhpat Jail on Wednesday.
He had been granted bail by the Supreme Court, Lahore registry, after the prosecution failed to prove his involvement in the case. Release orders were sent from the court to the Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) and Kot Lakhpat Jail today.
Express 24/7 correspondent Rabia Mehmood reported that Maulana Muhammad Ludhianvi, chief of Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ), arrived with armed guards and supporters at the jail to receive Ishaq.
Supporters of the group raised slogans in favour of Ishaq and showered him with rose petals on his release. They also presented him with garlands and distributed sweets to people present on the site.
Maulana Ludhianvi later spoke to the media and said that the group had followed the law to secure Ishaq’s release and that they would continue to “protect the honour of the Sahaba”. The released man was seen smiling sitting behind the ASWJ chief during the media talk.
Earlier, a division bench comprising Justice MA Shahid Siddiqui and Justice Asif Saeed Khosa had reprimanded the prosecution for failing to establish its case and destroying evidence. The bench had noted that the prosecution produced only two witnesses who 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 counsel, Qazi Misbahul Hassan, had argued 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 out of 44 cases.
He was jailed on September 13, 1997.