LeJ chief Malik Ishaq killed in police 'encounter' in southern Punjab
According to details received by ARY News, Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) of Punjab Police carried out a raid in the jurisdiction of Saddar Police Station.
The fleeing suspects opened fire at the anti-terror group due to which six officials were injured. The law enforcers gunned down 16 terrorists due to the retaliatory fire.
Police has stated that the saboteurs were planning to carry out a major terrorist in southern Punjab. Large number of hand grenades and suicide jackets were also recovered from the slain terrorists.
Their ages were between 25 to 30 year and the bodies were shifted to District Headquarters Hospital (DHQ) Muzaffargarh.
More than 100 murder cases were pending against Malik Ishaq and he was also placed in the most wanted list of the international terrorists.
AFP adds: Ishaq’s group was behind some of Pakistan’s worst sectarian attacks was killed in a shootout with police Wednesday, authorities said.
He was shot dead along with several other senior Laskhar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) leaders in Punjab. LeJ, long seen as close to Al-Qaeda and more recently accused of developing links with the Islamic State group, has a reputation as one of Pakistan’s most ruthless militant groups.
Ishaq, who has been in and out of police custody in recent years, was arrested on Saturday and was being moved when loyalists attacked the convoy in Muzaffargarh, a senior police official who took part in the encounter told AFP on condition of anonymity.
“The police retaliated and in the encounter Ishaq, his two sons and 11 others were killed, while six policemen were injured,” he said.
Punjab Home Minister Shuja Khanzada confirmed to AFP that Ishaq and “13 other sectarian militants including two of his sons” had been killed in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
Another senior police official said the attack came after Ishaq and the other LeJ cadres had been taken to recover a cache of explosives.
The cache included “three water coolers full of explosive, detonators, a Kalashnikov, some rifles and hundreds of bullets,” the police official told AFP on condition of anonymity.
“After the recovery when police were returning back, at around 3:00am, more than a dozen terrorists attacked the convoy and tried to rescue Ishaq and others,” the police official said.
He said all the six militants in police custody were killed along with eight of the attackers, while some of the would-be rescuers fled.
Mushtaq Rasool, chief doctor at the government-run Muzaffargarh District Hospital, confirmed receiving 14 dead bodies.
There has been no immediate reaction from LeJ but police encounters in Pakistan have often being viewed with suspicion.
Ishaq gained notoriety for his anti-Shia rhetoric and has been accused of masterminding dozens of attacks against the minority group.
LeJ had claimed responsibility for some of the most brazen attacks on Shias in Pakistan’s recent history including a January 2013 bombing in the city of Quetta that killed over a hundred members of the Shia Hazara group.
In February 2013, LeJ claimed responsibility for another attack in the same neighbourhood that killed around 80 members from the Hazara community.
#MalikIshaq trends on Twitter:
Users of the micro-blogging website posted their reaction(s) on Twitter following the killing of LeJ chief.
موت ذندگى رب كا اختيار هءى كسى كا جانا كسى كا أنا يه تو دستور دنيا هءى
— H M Tahirashrafi (@TahirAshrafi) July 29, 2015
Ishaq say aagay Taliban aur bhi hain… Abhi bobby kay imtihaan aur bhi hain.
— Imran Khan (@iopyne) July 29, 2015
Does the killing of Malik Ishaq indicate that the establishment is serious about cleaning the mess it had been fostering for years? #LeJ
— Ali Salman Alvi (@alisalmanalvi) July 29, 2015
1. Malik Ishaq’s dispatch in a police encounter should bring into sharp focus the condition of broken justice system in country.
— Gul Bukhari (@gulbukhari) July 29, 2015
Malik Ishaq, head of the banned sectarian group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and ‘architect of sectarianism’ in #Pakistan , killed in police encounter
— Mehreen Zahra-Malik (@mehreenzahra) July 29, 2015
One would like to believe what the story says about Malik Ishaq’s killing. One would love to believe state is finally serious.
— Marvi Sirmed (@marvisirmed) July 29, 2015
Do note, Malik Ishaq was involved in murders of hundreds of people but Pakistani Courts always set him free for alleged lack of evidence!
— Farhan Khan Virk (@FarhanKVirk) July 29, 2015
LEJ chief Malik Ishaq among the terrorists killed in police encounter.The man responsible for anti-shia violence & attack on SL cricket team
— Tuaha Sohail (@TuahaSohail) July 29, 2015