Noted Islamic cleric Maulana Samiul Haq, widely referred to as the “Father of the Taliban” was murdered in his home in Rawalpindi, according to his son, Hamidul Haq.
Brutal attack likely pre-planned
Conflicting reports initially emerged as to whether Haq was stabbed or shot to death, though according to his nephew Mohammad Bilal, the condition in which the body was found suggests that the well-known leader was tortured prior to being killed.
Though Haq was rushed to the hospital for emergency care once the situation had been discovered, he could not be saved because of the excessive amount of blood lost.
“We don’t know about the number of assailants…but from the body of my uncle seems that they had severely tortured him” revealed Haq’s nephew.
Bilal went on to state that the attack on his uncle was likely premeditated because the events took place during a brief period of time when Haq’s bodyguard had stepped away from the home.
Maulana Hamidul Haq, one of the late cleric’s sons, told reporters that no threats had been received by his father in the weeks or months before the violent attack.
Motive remains under investigation
It is not thought that Haq’s death is directly tied to terrorism, but the true motive for the killing remains unclear.
Syed Yousaf Shah, spokesman for Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam, the party within which Haq led a specific faction, stated that no blame has been assigned for the murder as of yet, Haq was “on the hit list of enemies of Islam” and that investigations will continue.
Strong ties to Taliban leadership
Haq, 81, was dubbed the “Father of the Taliban” due to having served as a primary mentor to Mohammaed Omar, the well-known founder of the notoriously hard-line Islamist group.
Since 1988, he also held the position of chancellor at Darul Uloom Haqqania University and had been a significant supporter of the mujahideen in the 1980s.
He played a pivotal role in guiding numerous Taliban leaders in their efforts to mobilize Islamist soldiers and eventually seize control of Afghanistan in the mid-1990s.
Haq’s background also included the establishment of the Difa-e-Pakistan Council and involvement in other religious groups working to reduce the degree of western interference in the region.
Protests and mourning
The murder of Haq has noticeably worsened an already precarious political climate in Pakistan, with large groups of mourners pouring into the streets in protest of his death.
Instability in multiple Pakistani cities has been exacerbated of late by the nation’s Supreme Court decision acquitting a Christian woman of blasphemy charges, a ruling which also spared her from the death penalty.
Though the grisly slaying of any human being is never a preferred outcome, the death of Maulana Samiul Haq, does at least deal a small blow to the influence of fundamentalist Islam in this most volatile part of the world.