Lahore, Jul 14: Malik Ishaq, the chief of the banned Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, accused of plotting the 2009 attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team, walked out on bail after 14 years in prison today to a jubilant welcome by his supporters who showered rose petals on him.
Ishaq, who was arrested on charges of involvement in terrorism and plotting sectarian attacks, was released after courts granted him bail in the case related to the attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team and six other cases.
A large number of activists of the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Sipah-e-Sahaba and Ahl-e-Sunnat wal Jamaat, including Sipah-e-Sahaba chief Maulana Ahmed Ludhianvi, greeted Ishaq when he emerged from Kot Lakhpat Jail this afternoon.
The activists garlanded and hugged Ishaq and distributed sweets among the jail staff and others present at the spot.
Rose petals were showered on Ishaq as he drove away from the prison in a vehicle.
Talking to reporters, Ishaq claimed he was not involved in terrorist activities and respected the law. Ludhianvi paid tribute to Ishaq for “facing the cases and proving his innocence”.
He said they would continue to uphold the dignity of the ‘sahabas' or companions of Prophet Mohammed. Besides being accused of masterminding the attack on the Sri Lankan team in Lahore, police had registered 44 cases against Ishaq.
He was also accused of involvement in the killing of members of the minority Shia community.
Ishaq's counsel Misba-ul-Haq told PTI that his client had been acquitted in 37 cases while he faced imprisonment of up to eight years in two cases.
Ishaq had secured bail in the remaining cases, Haq said. The Supreme Court granted him bail in the case of the 2009 attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team that resulted in seven deaths.
Ishaq reportedly left for Jhang district, the hub of sectarian groups, from where he will travel to his hometown of Rahim Yar Khan. PTI