A Pakistani Muslim cleric known for his relationship with known and suspected terrorist leaders has been killed in what relatives are describing as a brutal murder.
As NBC News reported, Maulana Samiul Haq was instrumental in the administration of the Darul Uloom Haqqania University, which is said to have recruited and trained thousands of Taliban fighters.
It was unclear from initial reports how Haq was killed, with different sources indicating it was either a stabbing or shooting.
According to his nephew, the deadly attack on the man commonly referred to as “the father of the Taliban” came Friday during a brief period during which his bodyguard was away.
“It seems to be an organized attack as they knew that Maulana Samiul Haq was alone in the house,” Mohammad Bilal told NBC.
He said the condition of his uncle’s body left little doubt that a group of attackers took part in the homicide.
“We don’t know about the number of assailants at the moment but from the body of my uncle seems that they had severely tortured him before taking his life,” Bilal said.
Haq’s body was found inside his Rawalpindi home on Friday.
His oldest son, Maulana Hamidul Haq, said the cleric had not received death threats or any other security alerts in the days leading up to his death.
In addition to a public demonstration by hundreds of mourners who took to the streets after hearing the news, a Taliban spokesperson released a statement denouncing the act.
“Those behind his killing were in fact the enemies of Islam,” said Zabihullah Mujahid.
Among Haq’s most infamous students was Mullah Mohammed Omar, who founded the Taliban nearly 30 years ago.
In a 2013 interview, he told Reuters that Omar was one of his best students and gushed when describing what his pupil has accomplished.
“He is a devout Muslim, very virtuous,” Haq said. “He is hospitable. He is a very simple man, with no princely tastes.”
Haq went on to describe Omar as a “very intelligent” and “angel-like human being” who “understands politics and is wise to the tricks of outsiders.”
Leading deobandi cleric Maulana Sami ul Haq stabbed to death at his Rawalpindi home.
As Pakistan has been under lock down due to protests mainly by a militant section of the barelvi sect.
This makes the powder keg of religious politics even further combustible in #Pakistan
— Osama Bin Javaid (@osamabinjavaid) November 2, 2018
The incident added tension to ongoing protests in Pakistan surrounding the high court’s acquittal of a Christian woman previously sentenced to death for blasphemy.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.