Friday Jan 19, 2018
ISLAMABAD: Islam prohibits waging war against the Pakistan Army or killing any person who recites the Kalima, Maulana Sufi Mohammad, the leader of the banned Tehreek Nifaz-e-Shariat Mohammadi (TNSM), said on Friday, days after his release from an eight-year-long incarceration.
In an interview to a private news channel, the ailing 93-year-old cleric said the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) possess all signs of being apostates (Khawarij) and that the only punishment TTP chief Mullah Fazlullah deserves is the death penalty.
He also said that the country would have been divided if it was not for the Pakistan Army, whose soldiers are like Mujahideen (holy warriors).
Earlier this month, the Peshawar High Court accepted Sufi Mohammad's bail plea and after his lawyer pleaded for his release as he had served a long time in prison despite his old age and deteriorating health condition.
This was his first interview to the media after his release.
Sufi Mohammad is the father-in-law of Mullah Fazlullah, the fugitive head of the banned TTP who has waged war against Pakistan and is the country's most-wanted terrorist.
Further criticizing the activities of the TTP, Sufi Mohammad said that it is strictly prohibited in Islam to kill women and children, and that those responsible for the massacre of children at the Army Public School in Peshawar were worse than infidels.
He also regretted the 2012 terrorist attack on Pakistani Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousufzai, saying she was a child and should not have been attacked, and added that he is not opposed to education of children. The TSNM chief also added that he had raised awareness in writing regarding permission for children's education.
Mohammad, who belongs to Maidan in Lower Dir district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, is facing trial in at least two cases registered in Swat district including one in 2009 and another in 1995. He has been accused of committing sedition, waging war against Pakistan, and several other offences, and has previously termed the government, the Constitution of Pakistan, and the judicial system un-Islamic.
In the first case, the TNSM chief was charged under Sections 120-B (hatching criminal conspiracy), 121-A (waging war against Pakistan), 124-A (sedition), 148 and 149 (rioting) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Pakistan Penal Code.
The other case was registered at Swat's Kabal Police Station in June 1995 when Maulana Sufi Muhammad and his supporters tried to impose 'Shariah' in Malakand division with force. He was charged under Sections 121 and 121-A (war against Pakistan), 324 (attempted murder), 341 (wrongful restraint), and 353 (obstructing public servant) of the IPC.
Previously, the cleric was arrested on November 20, 2001 in Kurram Agency when he was returning from Afghanistan where he had gone along with thousands of his supporters to wage war against US forces.
He was released in April 2008 when the ANP-led provincial government entered into a peace deal with the TNSM in which the latter disassociated itself from attacks on security forces and government installations and promised to help it in restoring the writ of the state there.
However, Sufi Mohammad was arrested again after failure of the peace deal and the launching of the military operation in Malakand division. The government also restored the old cases against him and his followers.
His lawyer, Fida Gul, says that apart from the two cases, his counsel has already been acquitted or granted bail in 11 cases previously filed against him.