Rejecting Rehman Malik’s charges of his students’ involvement in Benazir’s assassination, chief cleric of the Darul Uloom Haqqania in Akora Khattak, Maulana Samiul Haq, asked the interior minister to “prove them guilty.”
“I have asked the government and security officials several times to take concrete steps to prove the accused students guilty, instead of leveling allegations against them,” said Haq, who is also chief of his own faction of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam.
“I offer my cooperation in this regard even now,” he added.
Haq, who has served as a member of the upper house of parliament, claimed that not a single student of his seminary was involved in terrorist activities or in targeting security installations.
He said his seminary’s curriculum is ‘balanced and peaceful’ and offered an inspection to prove it.
Benazir was great leader and a leading thinker, and pointing fingers to Jamia Haqqania for her murder appears to be an attempt to hide her real assassins, said Maulana Syed Yousaf Shah, a spokesperson for the seminary in a statement issued on Tuesday.
Religious seminaries and political parties faced no threats from Benazir; the establishment and other political actors had to lose in case of her coming into government, Shah added.
“Darul Uloom Haqqania considers these allegations a part and parcel of international propaganda waged against religious institutions across the world,” he said.
Terming the report a “compendium of contradictions,” Shah said the accused students mentioned in the report, including Atizaz, Hassnain and Rafaqat, had no links with seminary.
“There were two students, Ibad and Ismael, whose record we gave to the FIA,” Shah told The Express Tribune on phone.
“They studied at the Haqqania but were not students when Benazir was assassinated,” he added.
“Many people study at different madrassas. What does the madrassa have to do with what they do once they have left?” he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 22nd, 2012.