Pakistan's 'father of the Taliban' cleric killed in knife attack

Maulana Samiul Haq considered 'father of Taliban', killed in Pakistan

Former senator Maulana Sami-ul-Haq has been assassinated in a targeted gun attack in Rawalpindi, Pakistan.

Haq's son, Hamidul Haq, confirmed that his father was killed on Friday.

Samiul Haq was the chief of Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam and died in an assassination attempt, news agency PTI reported.

Earlier, some reports suggested that gunmen on motorbikes opened fire on Samiul Haq's vehicle and sped away. In a statement, he said Maulana Sami-ul-Haq s political and religous services will be remembered.

Haq was known as the father of the Afghan Taliban due to the enormous influence and respect he enjoyed among the leaders and cadres of the militia.

No individual or group has so far claimed responsibility behind the assassination of Maulana Samiul Haq.

The prime minister's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) entered into a pre-election alliance with Haq's JUI-S, although the two later parted ways before Pakistan's July general vote, which Khan's party swept. He was the member of the Senate of Pakistan from 1985 to 1991 and again from 1991 to 1997.

Minister of State for Interior Shehryar Afridi has also condemned the assasination.

Many of them attended his Haqqania seminary, a well-known Islamist school in northwest Pakistan on the border with Afghanistan.

Haq's killing has come when religio-political parties in Pakistan are protesting on the streets against the Supreme Court's decision to acquit Asia Bibi.

However, initial reports had said that Haq had been shot.

Prime Minister Imran Khan's party had sought to work closely with him to implement various reforms and mainstream madrassah education.

He recalled that Maulana Samiul Haq was one of the few clerics who had openly supported the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) government in running polio eradication campaign.

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