LAHORE: A provincial review board, comprising three judges of the Lahore High Court, on Monday ended detention of Malik Ishaq, leader of a banned outfit, after the Punjab government opted to withdraw appeal for extension to his confinement.

The Punjab special secretary home and other officials produced Ishaq before the board amid strict security as a heavy police contingent was deployed on the high court premises. The board, comprising Justice Manzoor Ahmad Malik, Justice Farrukh Irfan Khan and Justice Abdul Sami Khan, held in-camera proceedings.

The government’s counsel requested the board to extend Ishaq’s detention for further three months in the wake of the Peshawar school massacre. He argued that the release of Ishaq would be a risk to law and order as he was known for delivering hate speeches at religious gatherings.

An insider said Malik Ishaq contested the government’s arguments and told the board that the allegation of delivering provoking speeches was baseless.

The board observed the government had failed to produce convincing evidence in support of its arguments.

Anticipating an adverse decision by the board, the secretary opted to withdraw the appeal and the board dismissed the appeal as withdrawn, ending the detention of Ishaq.

The review board had, on Sept 25, extended the detention of Ishaq for three months. The government had detained him in July this year under maintenance of public order (MPO) declaring him a risk to the law and order. His detention was due to end on Dec 25.

Published in Dawn, December 23rd, 2014

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