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ISLAMABAD (AP) - Prominent Pakistani cleric Maulana Samiul Haq, also known as the "father of the Taliban", was killed in a knife attack at his home in the garrison city of Rawalpindi on Friday, his family and police said.

Jamiat Ulema Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rahman said that he graduated from Darul Uloom Haqqania and had a strong relationship with Maulana Samiul Haq.

JUI-S leader Maulana Abdul Majeed said there was no one present at the house when Haq was killed.

Speaking to ARY News, the deceased's son Hamid ul Haq said his father was stabbed to death at his Rawalpindi residence. He formed Muttahida Deeni Mahaz (United Religious Front), an alliance of relatively small religio-political parties, to participate in Pakistani general election, 2013.

Sami ul Haq was known as the spiritual father of Taliban.

Unknown attackers killed the cleric, who ran an Islamic seminary in northwestern Pakistan and was seen as a possible intermediary in talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban, his deputy Yousaf Shah said.

PTI chairman and Prime Minister Imran Khan has condemned the assassination of Sami, stating that the country had been deprived of an important religious leader.

The prime minister has sought a report and directed that an investigation be carried out immediately to find those responsible.

Former interior minister Ahsan Iqbal said the awful news of the assassination was very tragic. He was a member of the senate of Pakistan from 1985 to 1991 and again from 1991 to 1997.

Afghan Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said the "people of Afghanistan will never forget (Haq's) services for them" and his killers were the "enemies of Islam".

Maulana Samiul Haq was a religious scholar and former Senator.


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