The assassination of Maulana Sami ul Haq, leader of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Pakistan, in Pakistan on Friday evening, has been met with mixed reaction in both Afghanistan and Pakistan.
In Afghanistan, politicians, MPs and members of the public believe the assassination of Sami ul Haq, who was also known as the spiritual father of the Taliban, was a huge strike against insurgency.
But in Pakistan sentiments differed as many people felt he had been heavily involved in efforts started by the US to bring peace to the region.
Sami ul Haq was killed on Friday evening at his home in Pakistan’s Rawalpindi city by unknown men. He was stabbed to death.
For years, Sami ul Haq had said Afghanistan was an occupied country and that he supported the fight against the Afghan government and foreign troops in the country.
His assassination was meanwhile discussed in Saturday’s Wolesi Jirga (Lower House of Parliament) session, where MPs also raised questions about what the consequences could be for the region.
Some MPs said Sami ul Haq had not been an important figure and that Taliban’s war against the Afghan government was beingmanaged by other elements and not by people such as Sami ul Haq.
“The Taliban war is being managed by others. They (Sami ul Haq) only speak and are not important. It is known who makes the decisions and who administers (the war) and where the Taliban’s sanctuaries are; the westerners (Americans) know it,” MP Nazir Ahmad Hanafi said.
But other MPs felt differently.
“I see Sami ul Haq’s assassination as a positive step toward maintaining peace. Anyone who creates obstacles in the way of peace, will have a destiny like Sami ul Haq,” MP Lalai Hamidzai said.
“Remain loyal to your country, otherwise the countries will use you and in the end will kill you like this (like Sami ul Haq),” MP Aryan Youn said.
Meanwhile, Abdullah Gul, the son of Pakistan’s former chief of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Gen. Hamid Gul, was also attacked on Friday night – an hour after the assassination of Sami ul Haq.
Abdullah Gul had been on his way to Islamabad when he was shot at.
“As the attack was managed against Maulana, who was killed, I was also attacked on my way to Islamabad. Two vehicles in frontand behind opened fire on me (my vehicle), but I arrived here safely,” said Abdullah Gul.
Taliban meanwhile said in a statement that Sami ul Haq’s assassination was a big loss for Pakistan.
The Pakistani’s also see it as a big loss for their country.
“I think all Pakistan belongs to his party. Not only Pakistan, but Afghanistan’s people also belong to him (his party),” Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, chief of Jama’at-ud-Da’wah said.
“His death is a loss for Pakistan, because he was playing a role in talks with the Taliban. Recently, he had taken on the job to talk with Taliban. He went to Kabul and participated in the talks. His death is a big loss for Pakistan and the US peace process in the region,” Chaudhary Javed, a Pakistani journalist said.
During the 1980s, Sami ul Haq served as a senator for two terms in Pakistan’s upper house and fully supported action against Afghanistan’s governments.
Darul Uloom Haqqania in the northern town of Akora Khattak was founded by his father in 1947.
Thousands of students attend this Darul Uloom and also senior Afghan Taliban leaders such as Mullah Omar, Mullah Akhtar Mansour and Jalaluddin Haqqani attended this Darul Uloom while reports indicate hundreds of students from his madrassa have fought and are still fighting against the Afghan government.
Sami ul Haq was 80 years old and according to his relatives, recently received death threats.
However, so far no one and no group has claimed responsibility for his assassination.