sectarian leader added to U.S. global terrorist list
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[February 07, 2014]
By Mubasher Bukhari
LAHORE, Pakistan (Reuters) — The United
States has added the founder of a banned Pakistani militant group to its
list of global terrorists, blaming him for the deaths of hundreds of
Malik Ishaq is the founding member and leader of the
Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LJ), a banned Sunni Muslim organization dedicated
to killing or driving out Pakistan's minority Shi'ite Muslims.
"In 1997, Malik Ishaq admitted his involvement in terrorist activity
that resulted in the deaths of over 100 Pakistanis," the U.S. State
Department said on its Web site in a statement posted on Thursday.
It noted he had also been arrested in connection with twin bombings
in the western Pakistani city of Quetta that killed about 200 people
"LJ specializes in armed attacks and bombings and has admitted
responsibility for numerous killings of Shi'ite religious and civil
society leaders in Pakistan," the State Department said.
The designations means anyone who supports Ishaq or
Lashkar-e-Jhangvi could have their assets frozen by the U.S.
Ishaq's deputy and spokesman said the decision to list Ishaq was the
result of a conspiracy between the United States and Iran, a
majority Shi'ite country.
About 20 percent of Pakistan's 180 million people are Shi'ite.
"The U.S. administration took the step on Iran's instigation," said
the spokesman, Hafiz Ghulam Rasool Shah.
"Malik Ishaq was acquitted by Pakistan's courts and he is leading
the life of an honorable and peaceful citizen of Pakistan."
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Ishaq has spent 14 years in jail on dozens of murder or terrorism
charges and was in prison when some of the attacks happened. He was
"The U.S. made the decision in the wake of attack on Sri Lankan
Cricket team in Lahore. When the incident occurred, Ishaq was in
Multan district jail," he said, referring to a deadly 2009 attack on
the sports team.
"Right now, Ishaq is in jail on the charges of making hatred
In 2012, Ishaq told Reuters that Shi'ites were the "greatest
infidels on earth" and that Pakistan should declare them
"Whoever insults the companions of the Holy Prophet should be given
a death sentence," Ishaq declared.
(Writing by Katharine Houreld; editing by Robert Birsel)
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