The leader of the banned Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Malik Ishaq was released from prison today. -File Photo

LAHORE: Pakistan on Tuesday released the head of a banned extremist group after a court granted him bail, following his arrest on suspicion of inciting sectarian hatred, his lawyer said.

Malik Ishaq, the leader of the feared Lashkar-e-Jhangvi organisation, which is said to have al Qaeda links, was held for making a “provocative” speech earlier this month.

Ishaq has been implicated in dozens of cases, mostly murder, and was accused of masterminding a 2009 attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore, which wounded seven players and an assistant coach and killed eight Pakistanis.

“The court has accepted his bail application and later he was freed from jail,” Arif Mehmood Rana, his lawyer told AFP.

Ijaz Shafi Dogar, a senior police officer confirmed to AFP that he was being freed as he was not wanted in any other case.

“He was set free this evening from Kot Lakhpat jail,” Dogar said.

Ishaq was detained over a speech he made at a religious school on August 19 in the wake of a rise in sectarian violence between majority Sunni and minority Shia Muslims.

Lashkar-e-Jhangvi is regarded as the most extreme Sunni terror group in Pakistan and is accused of killing hundreds of Shias after its emergence in the early 1990s. -AFP

Updated Sep 11, 2012 03:34pm

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