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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Maulana Sami-ul-Haq: end of an era?

News Analysis |

Prominent religious scholar and former Senator, Maulana Samiul Haq was stabbed to death by unknown assailants during his sleep at his Rawalpindi residence on Friday.

The news of his assassination came at a sensitive time, amid violent nationwide protests by religiopolitical parties against the verdict of the Supreme Court’s acquittal of Asia Bibi, a Christian woman, in a blasphemy case.

According to the details, Maulana Samiul Haq left his house in the afternoon with his driver cum personal assistant Ahmed Shah Haqqani to attend the TLP protest, however, due to roads blockage in twin cities, he returned home. His PA left for the market in the evening when unknown assailants barged into his residence in Bahria Town Safari Villas and stabbed the scholar multiple times. He succumbed to his wound while being taken to the hospital, his son Hamidul Haq confirmed to the media.

Read more: Unknown attackers kills Maulana Sami ul Haq

“He [Haq] was resting in his room during when his driver/guard went out for 15 minutes. When he returned, he found Maulana Samiul Haq dead in his bed and his body covered in blood,” Haq’s son told media.

Yousaf Shah, the Maulana’s spokesman, said the attacker’s identity and their motive were not immediately known.

The deceased’s body was taken to his hometown Akora Khattak, a town in Nowshera district where he will be laid to rest today. His funeral prayer will be held at Garrison Ground of Akora Khattak.

Investigation into killing

Police and officials of the Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) have started the investigation into the killing; they inspected the crime scene and collected pieces of evidence.

Earlier investigation suggests, as per media reports that attacker/attackers had arrived on a motorcycle. Investigators found an empty water glass from the crime scene; forensic experts have taken fingerprints from the class. Homicide Investigation Unit and CTD have obtained CCTV footage of cameras installed in the housing society. The police have taken two servants of Maulana Sami into custody for investigation.

Read more: “Don’t drag army into everything,” warns DG ISPR

His body was earlier shifted to the District Headquarters Hospital for medico-legal formalities, but no post-mortem was conducted on slain’s family demand.

PM Khan condemns the assassination

Prime Minister Khan who is on a visit to China was informed about Haq’s death. The premier expressed his sorrow and ordered an immediate investigation into the attack and sought an inquiry report at the earliest.

Chief Justice Nisar condemned the incident and expressed grief over the assassination.

DG ISPR Maj General Ghafoor on Twitter stated that COAS condemned the murder of scholar.

President Dr Arif Alvi, AJK PM Raja Farooq Haider Khan,JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif, Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif, JI chief Sirajul Haq, Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar, Federal Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Noorul Haq Qadri, State Minister for Interior Shehryar Afridi and others also expressed sorrow over the assassination of Haq.

Read more: “Strict Action”: Polls show a majority of people against TLP Actions

Maulana Samiul Haq, profile

Maulana Sami, said to be around 82 years old, was the head of the Darul Uloom Haqqania seminary in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Akora Khattak and chief of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Sami (JUI-S).

A holder of Sanad-e-Fazilat-o-Faraghat and Sanad Daura Tafseer-e-Quran from Darul Uloom Haqqania, and Shaikh-ul-Hadith (honorary) from Darul Uloom Deoband, Maulana Sami imparted religious education at his alma mater to the students and held important positions in the academic and administrative staff of the seminary.

Haq was the member of Senate from 1985 to 1991 and again from 1991 to 1997.  He was aligned with the PTI for the 2018 election but could not win.

Prime Minister Imran Khan’s party had planned to work closely with Haq to implement various reforms and mainstream madrassah education system. The PTI-led coalition government in KP for the year 2016-17, had allocated Rs277mn for his seminary in order to bring madrassah reforms; though that brought a lot of criticism to PTI.

Read more: Pakistan PM praised for stand against hardliners, despite protests

According to the Senate website, Haq was an active protagonist of the Tahreek-i-Khatam-e-Nabowat in 1974 and Tahreek-i-Nizam-i-Mustafa in 1977.

“He was a member of the Majlis-i-Shoora in 1983-85 and was a member of the Presidential Committee on religious matters. He was elected to the Senate in 1985 and was one of the principal movers of the historic Shariat Bill in the Senate. He [was] re-elected as senator in 1991 for another six-year term,” reads the Senate website.

Regarded as the ‘father of Taliban’, Haq was alleged to have close ties with the Taliban leadership, including Mullah Muhammad Omar. His Deobandi Islamic seminary has been the alma mater of many prominent Taliban members. However, when in 2013, Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan called polio un-Islamic and forced people to stop inoculating children, Maulana Samiul Haq issued a fatwa in the favor of polio vaccination.

Maulana Sami was an influential figure among members of the Taliban on both sides of the Afghan-Pakistan border. In 2014, he headed a committee formed for the peace talks with the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). Though talks despite repeated rounds failed and the then government had to launch a crackdown on militants after the Army Public School in Peshawar later that year.