Pakistani cleric known as ‘Taliban’s father’ killed in knife attack

Maulana Sami-ul Haq, above (Photo credit: news.trust.org), known as the ‘father of the Taliban’ for his influence over the militant group on both sides of the Afghan-Pakistan border, was stabbed to death while resting in his home in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, on Friday afternoon, his son said.

The attack took place when Maulana Sami’s driver and gunman Haqqani had gone out for 15 minutes leaving him alone, his son Maulana Hamidul Haq told Geo News.

On his return, Haqqani found his boss lying in a pool of blood on his bed.

Haq said his 82-year-old father was stabbed several times in the chest and the head by an unknown assailant who might have scaled the compound wall, waited for the right opportunity to strike and left undetected.

Maulana Sami was immediately taken to a hospital which pronounced him dead on arrival.

No group has claimed responsibility for Friday’s attack.

Prime Minister Imran Khan, who is in China on an official visit, condemned the killing and ordered an inquiry into the incident.

Soon after Maulana Sami’s murder, scores of his supporters attacked shops and vehicles in Islamabad and Rawalpindi.

Maulana Sami’s death comes amid street protests against the Supreme Court’s acquittal of Asia Bibi, a Christian woman, in a blasphemy case. He wanted to join one such protest in Rawalpindi on Friday but had to return home due to road blocks, his son said.

Maulana Sami, religious scholar and former senator, ran a faction of the religious Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-S) party which was aligned with the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) during the July general elections this year.

Maulana Sami was also the head of the Darul Uloom Haqqania seminary in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Last month, a high-level delegation from Afghanistan had met Sami and urged him to play a role in resolving the Afghan issue. Maulana Sami told them he wished to see a peaceful end to the complicated Afghan issue.