Analysis & Opinion

What’s the story behind Pakistan’s Maulana SAMI UL HAQ’s Assassination?

MaulanaSamiulHaq, a prominent Pakistani cleric also known as the “Father of the Taliban”, had been killed in abrutal attack,he was stabbed to death at his residence in Rawalpindi on Nov 2 2018. Police said that Maulana was taken to a nearby hospital where he died. Until now, No group has so far claimed the responsibility of his murder.

MaulanaHaq was the head cleric of DarulUloomHaqqania, AkoraKhattak. He has served on the post since the death of his father, Maulana Abdul Haq, who founded the madrassah in 1988. Many leaders of Afghan Taliban, including the movement’s founder Mullah Omar, studied at DarulUloomHaqqania.He was a part of JUI Darkhwati and was made its president after Darkhwati’s death. The group later came to be known as the JUI-S.

His son Hamid ulHaq said “My father has been martyred. He was alone at his home. His guard had gone out minutes before the attack and upon his return, he saw my father in critical condition,” he told reporters.

The Prime Minister of Pakistan, MrImran Khancondemned the killing and had ordered an investigation.State Minister for Interior Shehryar Afridi said that he would present a detailed report to the prime minister regarding assassination of Maulana Sami-ul-Haq.He was talking to media at DarulUloomHaqqania after offering condolence to Hamid-ul-Haq, son of Maulana Sami-ul-Haq. Afridi said that investigation was underway in the case from every angle and he would not comment prematurely as it could affect the ongoing investigation process.Shehryar said Maulana played a key role in religious reforms introduced during the last tenure of PTI government.He said some countries wanted to create unrest in the country through social media, adding that strict action would be taken in that regard.He said that culprits involved in the assassination would be brought to justice.

Haq’s death comes at a time of turmoil in Pakistan, where protests had broken out in a number of cities after the acquittal of a Christian woman sentenced to death on blasphemy charges. This was done to create a situation of further unrest and make the country disquiet.Maulana had thousands of followers among his students, as well as Afghan and local Taliban members. The BBC’s M. Ilyas Khan said “there are fears that his killing may cause further trouble on the streets”.

Since the murder of Haq, International media, specifically of India and Afghanistan, has been observed accusing and bashing Pakistan Security Forces for murder of Maulana by linking it with TLP’s recently created anarchy, release of Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, Afghanistan peace process and FATA issue.

It is pertinent to mention that Pakistan is the key player and supporter of peace in Afghanistan as peace in Afghanistan would eventually lead towards peace in Pakistan. Maulana’s assassination will negativity affect Afghanistan peace process as Taliban regarded Maulanait a spiritual leader who enjoyed great respect as a teacher. His assassination favors those who do not want peace in Afghanistan.

HamidulHaq stated that the world has lost a door for talks with Taliban after the death of his father. He also said that Maulana Sami was facing threat from India and Afghanistan.

Afghanistan Government is not happy over Afghan peace talks scheduled in Moscow in the coming days mainly due to disregard to US and Afghan Government by Russia and participation of Pakistan in the talks. India is also fingers crossed over attending these talks mainly due to Afghanistan and US. Hence, assassination of Maulana is pointing fingers towards NDS and RAW.

According to an article carried by Arab News, the news of Sami death was celebrated by an official of Afghan Embassy in the US, MrMajeedQarar. The cultural attaché went live on his personal Facebook page to congratulate Afghans on his death, the paper claimed.

There is also a fear amongst US and Afghanistan that Moscow peace initiative could derail efforts by U.S. envoy ZalmayKhalilzad to persuade the Taliban to agree to negotiate.On September 5, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo formally appointed ZalmaiKhalilzad, the former U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, Iraq and the United Nations, as a Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation. In this new role, Khalilzad is given the portfolio to “support, facilitate and participate” in the peace process. In his first tour of the countries in the region, which included Afghanistan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, Khalilzad met with representatives of the Taliban in Doha on September 12. Participation of Pakistan in the peace talks of Moscow organized by the Russian Federation was clearly unpleasant for India and Afghanistan.

There is also a strong opinion amongst few intellects and think tanks that India and Afghanistan are celebrating Maulana’s assassination and they have avenged murder of Afghan General Raziq, who was one of Afghanistan’s most powerful security officials. He was killed along with Kandahar’s intelligence chief, Abdul Mohmin, when a bodyguard opened fire after a meeting in the southern province, officials said.

Taliban had claimed the responsibility of his murder. “The brutal police chief of Kandahar has been killed along several other officials,” a Taliban statement said.Raziq was criticized by human rights groups but highly respected by US officers who saw him as one of Afghanistan’s most effective leaders, largely responsible for keeping Kandahar province under control. So Maulana’s assassination seems quite a revenge for the killing of Raziq.

Pakistan is a country which is the victim of terrorism for decades. Pakistan Army has fought many operations against terrorism in which they have lost many lives. This is the time when Pakistan is in a crucial state and there is a dire need to promote the end of war in Afghanistan so that peace would prevail in the region of both Afghanistan and Pakistan.Critically observing the present scenario one may ponder that “Was MaulanaSami ul Haq’s assassinationjust another step to destabilizePakistan’simage and tag it as a terrorist state?

Sidra Insar is a graduate from QAU, Islamabad and is currently working as an educationist in the Government of Pakistan. Her area of interest is Political Dynamics of States and International Relations.