LAHORE, Aug 30: Police detained Malik Ishaq of the defunct Sipah-i-Sahaba Pakistan at Lahore airport on Thursday on his return from Saudi Arabia.
He has been accused of fanning sectarian hatred.
Ishaq of Rahim Yar Khan was acquitted by courts in cases of sectarian killings last year.
A police official told Dawn that Ishaq was wanted in connection with an FIR 917/12 registered against him at the Nishtar Colony police under Section 295-A (deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs) of PPC and 3 Amplifier Act.
He said Ishaq who had made a speech against the Shia sect in Kamahan village on Aug 9 would be produced in a court on Friday.
Asked why police didn’t arrest him soon after he had been named in the case, the official said efforts were made to arrest him but he went underground and later left for Saudi Arabia.
After his acquittal last year, Ishaq reportedly visited several places in the country and made hate-filled speeches.
Tension gripped Chiniot last month after an incident of firing on a mosque following a speech by Malik Ishaq. Members of the proscribed SSP and Shia sect blamed each other for the shooting and police registered a case against people from both sides.
A senior Punjab Police officer, who wished not to be named, said Ishaq violated the fourth schedule of the Anti-Terrorism Act by leaving the country without informing police.
He fanned sectarian hatred and the Punjab government did not appear to be serious in restricting his movement amid allegations that he had remained in touch with a couple of provincial ministers.
According to the police record, Ishaq was involved in more than 40 cases relating to sectarianism and terrorism in which 70 people, most of them Shias, were killed.
He was released from Kot Lakhpat jail on July 14, 2011, while serving 14 years of imprisonment when the Supreme Court granted him bail in the case relating to a terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team.
Ishaq was detained in Rahim Yar Khan for 10 days under the Maintenance of Public Order Act.
The detention was extended to 60 days on October 25.