Pakistani and Afghan Ulema associated with Darul Uloom Haqqania in Akora Khattak have sworn allegiance to Mullah Akhtar Mansoor, the successor of Mullah Omar, whose election has ostensibly fragmented the Afghan Taliban.
The allegiance pledge was made at a function presided over by Maulana Samiul Haq, the chief of his eponymous faction of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam, at the Islamic seminary.
Maulana Samiul Haq, Maulana Sher Ali Shah, Maulana Anwarul Haq and several other Islamic scholars addressed the function organised in connection with the start of the new academic year at Darul Uloom Haqqania. Several top cadres of the Afghan Taliban are said to have studied at the seminary.
Participants said a prayer for Mullah Omar, whose death was officially confirmed by the Taliban and Afghan government late last month. After the Fateha, Maulana Samiul Haq, who is also the chancellor of Darul Uloom Haqqania, pledged allegiance to Mullah Mansoor in a brief address. In response, the participants – mostly seminary students – shouted ‘Long Live Mullah Omar’ and ‘Long Live Mullah Mansoor’.
In their speeches, Maulana Samiul Haq and Maulana Sher Ali Shah called upon Afghan Ulema and people to forge unity in their ranks and submit to the leadership of Mullah Mansoor in order to ‘foil the designs of infidels’.
They also called upon the Afghans to protect Afghanistan against international conspiracies.
The Afghans have rendered great sacrifices for the enforcement of Islamic Shariah and they are still engaged in an armed struggle against international forces for this purpose, the Maulanas added.
Neither Maulana Samiul Haq nor other speakers trusted the news of the death of Maulana Jalalud Din Haqqani, the founder of the Haqqani network. Instead they prayed for the early recovery of the elderly warlord, who is said to be ill.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 6th, 2015.