Malik Ishaq, a founder of the feared Lashkar-e-Jhangvi group, was initially put under house arrest, and then sent to Rahim Yar Khan Jail in central Punjab province. - File Photo

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has extended the detention by 60 days of a leader of the country's most extreme Muslim terror group wanted over sectarian killings, an official said on Wednesday.

Malik Ishaq, a founder of the feared Lashkar-e-Jhangvi group, was initially put under house arrest, and then sent to Rahim Yar Khan Jail in central Punjab province on September 25, for 30 days.

“The authorities have extended his detention for another 60 days,” jail superintendent Shahid Naeem Sheikh told AFP by telephone.

“We received a notification from the Punjab government after the expiry of the previous order on Tuesday,” he said.

His detention has been extended in the interest of public order and to preempt any sectarian strife, Sheikh said.

Lashkar-e-Jhangvi is regarded as the most extreme terror group in the Muslim-majority country and is accused of killing hundreds of Shia Muslims after its emergence in the early 1990s.

It was banned by then president Pervez Musharraf in 1999.

Ishaq was also accused of masterminding, from behind bars, the 2009 attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore which wounded seven players and an assistant coach, and killed eight Pakistanis.

But he has been acquitted in 34 cases against him and granted bail in the remaining 10, official documents said.

Rights groups say a lack of action from the government has emboldened sectarian militant groups, blamed for the deaths of thousands in past years.

Lashkar-e-Jhangvi also played a key role in the 2002 kidnap and murder of American journalist Daniel Pearl and in twin failed assassination bids on key US ally Musharraf in December 2003.

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