–Influential religious scholar, former senator stabbed to death inside residence, son confirms
–PM Khan, COAS Bajwa, Chief Justice Nisar, among others express sorrow at Haq’s death
–PM directs immediate investigation into assassination to find the perpetrators, seeks inquiry report
RAWALPINDI: Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Sami (JUI-S) chief and former senator Maulana Samiul Haq was assassinated after unknown assailants attacked him at his Rawalpindi residence, Haq’s son confirmed Friday.
The 82-year-old influential religious scholar was attacked with a knife and stabbed multiple times by unknown assailants at his residence in the Bahria Town Safari Villas, his son Hamidul Haq confirmed, adding that he succumbed to his wounds while being taken to the hospital.
“He [Haq] was resting in his room during Asr time when his driver/guard went out for 15 minutes. When he returned, he found Maulana Samiul Haq dead in his bed and his body covered in blood,” Haq’s son told media.
Haq’s servant said he had gone outside the residence to buy groceries and upon returning, he saw the religious scholar bearing knife attack wounds covered with a pool of blood. Haq died on the way to the hospital, the servant added.
Haq’s spokesperson Yousaf Shah said that the body will be taken to the Darul Uloom Haqqania in Akora Khattak, a town in Nowshera district. His funeral prayer will be held at 3pm in the Garrison Ground of Akora Khattak, local media reported.
His body was earlier shifted to the District Headquarters Hospital for medico-legal formalities.
PM SEEKS INQUIRY REPORT:
Prime Minister Imran Khan, who is on a visit to China, was informed about Haq’s death at which the premier expressed grief and sorrow. PM Khan ordered an immediate investigation into the attack and sought an inquiry report at the earliest. He said Haq was a great scholar of Islam, adding that the country had been deprived of an important religious leader whose services will always be remembered.
COAS strongly condemns assassination of renowned religious scholar and political leader Moulana Sami ul Haq. Expresses grief and condolences to the bereaved family.
— Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor (@OfficialDGISPR) November 2, 2018
President Dr Arif Alvi, AJK PM Raja Farooq Haider Khan, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif, Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif, JI chief Sirajul Haq, Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar, Federal Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Noorul Haq Qadri, State Minister for Interior Shehryar Afridi and others condemned the incident and expressed grief over the assassination of Haq.
مسلم لیگ (ن) کے صدر اورقائد حزب اختلاف شہبازشریف کی مولانا سمیع الحق کے قتل کی شدید مذمت
اسلام آباد () مسلم لیگ (ن) کے صدر اور قائد حزب اختلاف شہبازشریف نے جمعیت علماءاسلام (س) کے سربراہ ممتاز عالم دین مولانا سمیع الحق کے قتل کی شدید الفاظ میں مذمت کی ۔
— PML(N) (@pmln_org) November 2, 2018
The Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) reached the spot and initiated a probe into the murder.
The state minister for interior said he spoke to the Punjab IG who briefed him on the initial investigation into the murder which suggests that the murder could be a result of a family feud. The matter is being investigated from all angles and a foreign hand can’t be ruled out, the minister said.
The minister also said that the state would take action to establish its writ and control the law and order situation.
JUI-S leader Maulana Abdul Majeed said there was no one present at the residence when Haq was killed. “We do not know who attacked him. He was alone, the person who was supposed to be with him had gone to the market,” Majeed said.
Haq’s spokesman said the attacker’s identity and their motive were not immediately known.
Three guards, a driver and personal servant were all instructed to protect Haq from any untoward incident. The security agencies have raised their concerns over why all these persons were not present at the same time during Haq’s assassination.
According to the security agencies, Haq’s killers may have links with the terror groups in Afghanistan and it could be bid to avenge the murder of top Afghan security commander and Kandahar police chief Gen Abdul Raziq.
Separately, the police have also started an investigation into the killing.
According to the initial report compiled by police, Haq was killed on the first floor of his residence in the absence of his guard who is present at all times to protect him. There were knife wounds on Haq’s face and chest, the report added.
His phone, glasses and other items have been collected as evidence from the crime scene. The police suspects the involvement of multiple attackers.
There were no CCTV cameras installed at the residence. However, the police said it plans to use the footages recorded by the housing society’s cameras in order to point out the perpetrators.
The news of his death comes at a sensitive time, with religio-political parties, especially the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), ARE out on the streets demonstrating against the Supreme Court’s acquittal of Aasiya Bibi, a Christian woman, in a blasphemy case.
Haq was to play an important role in the negotiations with the TLP and other far-right groups that have locked down major cities. “He was trying to reach the protest in Islamabad but came back home due to roads being blocked,” Haq’s son said.
Students of Dar-ul-Uloom Haqqania seminary, where Haq served as the chancellor, have taken to streets in Nowshera against the killing.
Samiul Haq, a Pakistani religious scholar, was a member of the Senate from 1985 to 1991 and again from 1991 to 1997. The ruling PTI had given him a ticket for the 2018 Senate election, but he could not be elected to the upper house.
According to the Senate website, Haq was an active protagonist of the Tahreek-i-Khatam-e-Nabowat in 1974 and Tahreek-i-Nizam-i-Mustafa in 1977.
“He was a member of the Majlis-i-Shoora in 1983-85 and was a member of the Presidential Committee on religious matters. He was elected to the senate in 1985 and was one of the principal movers of the historic Shariat Bill in the Senate. He [was] re-elected as senator in 1991 for another six-year term,” reads the Senate website.
Sometimes regarded as the ‘Father of the Taliban’, Haq was alleged to have close ties with Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar. He was the chancellor of Darul Uloom Haqqania, a Deobandi Islamic seminary which is the alma mater of many prominent Taliban members.
He had been aligned with the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) for the July 25 general elections. Prime Minister Imran Khan’s party had planned to work closely with Haq to implement various reforms and mainstream madrassah education system.
For the year 2016-17, the PTI-led coalition government in KP had allocated Rs277mn for the seminary for reforms in the madrassah, which brought the Khan-led party a lot of criticism.
In 2014, the JUI-S chief headed a committee formed for peace talks with the outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).
The talks, despite repeated rounds, failed to yield results and the then Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government subsequently launched a crackdown on militants following terrorist attacks on Karachi’s Jinnah International Airport and then the Army Public School in Peshawar later that year.