PESHAWAR -- Maulana Sami ul Haq, a top Pakistani religious leader and chief of Darul Uloom Haqqania, an Islamic seminary in Akora Khattak, was reportedly assassinated Friday (November 2) in Rawalpindi.
"Maulana Sami ul Haq was attacked with a knife that proved fatal," Sami ul Haq's son, Hamidul Haq, who was formerly a member of the National Assembly, told Pakistan Forward. His father was lying in a pool of blood when the family members arrived home, he said.
The family had brought Sami ul Haq for treatment to Rawalpindi and were about to return to their home in Akora Khattak when the incident occurred.
Sami ul Haq, known as the "father of the Taliban", was the chief of his own political faction, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (S), and led the controversial Haqqania madrassa in Nowshera District, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP).
The seminary was founded by his father and has thousands of students in Pakistan, Afghanistan and other countries. Some of its alumni and personal students of Sami ul Haq included senior Taliban leaders.
"Sami ul Haq was involved in resuming the process negotiations between militant groups in Afghanistan for peace in the country and had held meetings with the Afghan envoy [Ambassador to Pakistan Omar Zakhilwal] and others concerned," Iftikhar Firdous, the editor of Samaa Digital, told Pakistan Forward.
Condemnations from senior Pakistani leaders as well as calls for investigations have begun to pour in.
Prime Minister Imran Khan ordered an immediate probe, according to Geo TV.
Sami ul Haq, 80, served in both the National Assembly and the Senate. He also headed the Difa-e-Pakistan, or Pakistan Defence, movement.
Despite his controversial views about jihad and militancy, as well as his staunch support for the Afghan Taliban, including his close ties to group leaders who ordered attacks on civilians, Sami ul Haq was nonetheless an influential figure among many Pakistanis. Inside Pakistan, he maintained a large cadre of devoted followers, including among the country’s political class, who respected him because of his religious scholarship.