Pakistan has arrested Lashkar-e-Jhangvi’s leader Malik Ishaq following the militant group carried out two deadly bombings, mainly targeting Shia Muslims.
Ishaq was detained at his residence in the central city of Rahim Yar Khan on Friday and taken to the local jail.
“Malik Ishaq has been detained under the Maintenance of Public Order law on the orders of the Punjab provincial government,” AFP quoted Tanveer Ahmad, a senior police official in Rahim Yar Khan.
A deadly bombing killed at least 90 people on February 16 in Quetta, provincial capital in the southwestern province of Balochistan. Ninety-two people were also killed in the city after twin bombings hit a snooker hall frequented by Hazara Shias on January 10.
Lashkar-e-Jhangvi has claimed responsibility for both attacks.
Ishaq’s arrest comes amid criticism made by human rights activists who have accused the Pakistani government of failing to protect the country’s Shia Muslims and condemned the army for not being able to deal with the terror group due to incompetence or complicity.
The February 16 massacre also triggered mass protests across Pakistan and other countries, including neighboring Afghanistan, where angry demonstrators denounced the violence against Shia Muslims.
In recent months, Pakistan has witnessed a hike in violence against Shia Muslims, who make up about a third of the country’s population of over 180 million.
Since the beginning of 2012, hundreds of Shias have been killed in Pakistan.