S chief Maulana Samiul Haq stabbed to death in Rawalpindi

Maulana Samiul Haq

Muslim cleric Sami ul-Haq, known as the "Father of the Taliban" for having taught some of the Afghan Islamist movement's leaders, was shot dead on Friday in a Pakistani city, a relative and his deputy said.

Maulana Hamidul Haq said his octogenarian father was stabbed to death while he was resting in his room.

Saeed-ur-Rehman Sarwar, a leader of Haq's JUI-S political party, also confirmed the killing.

Earlier, some reports suggested that gunmen on motorbikes opened fire on Samiul Haq's vehicle and sped away.

Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar has condemned the assasination of Maulana Sami-ul-Haq and sought report from the Inspector General of Punjab police.

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Pakistani police and family of a top cleric Haq who was known as "father of the Taliban" has been killed in a knife attack in his bedroom at home in the garrison city of Rawalpindi. Maulana Sami was a heart patient, Hamid said. He was chief of his eponymous faction of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-S).

Former interior minister Ahsan Iqbal said the awful news of the assassination was very tragic. Haq had also served as a member of the Senate of Pakistan from 1985 to 1991 and again from 1991 to 1997.

He also led the Darul Uloom Haqqania seminary in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's Akora Khattak, Dawn reported.

Afghan Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said the "people of Afghanistan will never forget (Haq's) services for them" and his killers were the "enemies of Islam".

The prime minister's aide on political affairs, Naeemul Haq, said the religious scholar's martyrdom was a huge tragedy. Khan had been criticized for supporting Haq, including donating funds to the Haqqania seminary when he was head of a provincial government.

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