Maulana Samiul Haq, a top Pakistani cleric known as the ‘father of Taliban’, was stabbed to death in the garrison city of Rawalpindi, last evening. The 82-year-old, a heart patient, was killed by unidentified attackers while he was resting in his room.
According to his son Maulana Hamidul Haq, his personal guard had gone out to the market and when he came back he saw Haq lying “in a pool of blood” on the bed, Hamidul added. So far, no outfit has claimed the responsibility of the killing.
Haq, a two-time senator, was revered in Pakistan and Afghanistan. His views carried enormous weight among the Taliban in both nations. He was the head of the Islamic religious seminary Darul Uloom Haqqania in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Akora Khattak town near the Afghan border and also the chief of the hardline political party Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Sami.
The Darul Uloom Haqqania was the launching pad for the Taliban movement in the 1990s and is described as the incubator for Islamist terrorists. Haq’s madrassa in Akora Khattak is known for having several top Afghan Taliban leaders among its alumni, including Mullah Omar who had received an honorary doctorate from the seminary.
Haqqani Network founder Jalaluddin Haqqani, Al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AIQS) leader Asim Umar and slain Afghan Taliban chief Mullah Akhtar Mansoor were also among the alumni of the seminary which is dubbed as the “University of Jihad”. He was also the chairman of the Difa-e-Pakistan Council – an umbrella coalition of more than 40 groups, including Hafeez Saeed-led Jamat-ud Dawa (JuD) and the banned Sipah-e-Sahaba.
Pakistan’s Minister of State for Interior, Sheryar Afridi, condemned Haq’s killing and said, “The political and religious services of the Mualana will be remembered forever.”