Pakistan's 'father of Taliban' cleric killed in knife attack


Prominent Pakistani cleric Maulana Samiul Haq, who was also known as the godfather of Taliban, was killed in a gun attack in the garrison city of Rawalpindi on Friday, according to media reports.

Haq served as chairman of the Difa-e-Pakistan Council and was the leader of his own faction of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam political party, known as JUI-S.

Haq, a heart patient, was killed by unidentified attackers while he was resting in his room, his son Maulana Hamidul Haq was quoted as saying by Geo News.

Pakistani religious cleric Maulana Samiul Haq arrives for a press conference in Islamabad in 2014.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) condemned the killing of Maulana Samiul Haq and said that serious action would be taken against the killers.

Haq was known as the father of the Afghan Taliban due to the enormous influence and respect he enjoyed among the leaders and cadres of the militia.

A spokesman for the military condemned the "assassination" and expressed "grief and condolences" to his family.

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Speaking to the television channel, Hamidul Haq said Maulana Samiul was unable to participate in the protests against Asia Bibi's acquittal by the Supreme Court in a blasphemy case.

Prime Minister Imran Khan, who is now in China for an official visit, said the country had been deprived of an important religious leader whose services would always be remembered. He was twice elected as member of the Senate.

However, initial reports had said that Haq had been shot.

In a statement from Beijing, where he is now on the visit to China, the prime minister directed to investigate the incident and bring the perpetrators to justice.

"With Maulana Sami-ul-Haq's martyrdom, the country has lost an important religious and political leader", he said on Friday.

Former interior minister Ahsan Iqbal said the bad news of the assassination was very tragic.

Prime Minister Imran Khan's party had sought to work closely with him to implement various reforms and mainstream madrassah education.