Lashkar-i-Jhangvi chief Malik Ishaq. – File Photo
ISLAMABAD: The United States on Thursday designated Malik Ishaq, the chief of proscribed Lashkar-i-Jhangvi (LJ) militant group of Pakistan, in its list of most wanted international terrorists.
“The Department of State has designated Malik Ishaq as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist under Executive Order (E.O.) 13224,” said a statement issued by the US State Department.
The US government also decided to keep his outfit on the international terrorist organisation list.
“In addition to Ishaq’s designation, the Department of State has also reviewed and maintained the Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) designation of LJ in accordance with Section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, as amended,” said the statement.
The statement said that Ishaq has claimed responsibility of his role in various terrorist activities that killed more than 100 Pakistani civilians mainly Shia Muslims.
“More recently, in February 2013, Pakistani police arrested Ishaq in connection with attacks on January 10 and February 16, 2013 in the northwestern city of Quetta that killed nearly 200 Pakistani civilians. LJ claimed responsibility for the Quetta bombings.”
American citizens and companies are now prohibited for engaging in transactions with the LJ chief after Thursday’s announcement. The US authorities can now act in freezing all his financial assets and properties in the United States as well, said the statement.
“The Department took these actions in consultation with the Departments of Justice and Treasury,” the press release added.
Malik Ishaq is facing charges relating to killing of more than 100 people belonging to the minority sect and the attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in March 2009 and has spent around 15 years in Pakistani jails.
He was initially a member of Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP), a banned Sunni extremist group but later disassociated himself from it for his alleged ‘violent policies’ and formed his own outfit. The Lashkar-i-Jhangvi was proscribed by the Pakistan government as a terror group soon after its inception in early 1990s.
After reaching an agreement with Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ) chief Ahmed Ludhianvi, Ishaq joined as second in command of the former SSP in 2012.