Pak Islamist leader warned of threats from Taliban: Report

Last Updated: Friday, May 27, 2011 - 18:29

Islamabad: Pakistan`s hardline Islamist
leader Maulana Fazlur Rehman, once considered close to radical
militants groups but now hunted by them, has been asked by the
authorities to cut down his public appearances for his own
safety.

Maulana Fazlur, the chief of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl
(JUI-F), has been warned by the National Counter Terrorism
Authority (NACTA) of an imminent threat to his life, The
Express Tribune daily said on Friday.

Rehman had recently escaped two back-to-back attempts
on his life in his home restive province Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

Based on credible intelligence reports, the NACTA has
conveyed to Rehman that Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and
al-Qaeda might target him.

"The Interior Ministry has informed JUI-F leaders that
they might be the next target of TTP or al-Qaeda," party
leader Maulana Shujaul Mulk was quoted as saying by the
Pakistani daily.

The warning was issued on account of intelligence
gathered by Saudi agencies which suggested the JUI-F might
have played a role in the elimination of some Arab militants
hiding in Pakistan.

Apparently, this led the TTP and al-Qaeda to brand him
as an enemy, the daily said.

In March, Rehman had two back-to-back attempts on his
life. The attacks surprised political observers as the JUI-F
is perceived as being pro-Taliban.

Rehman has repeatedly called on the federal government
to halt the military operations against the militants in the
restive northwestern Pakistan.

The JUI-F chief, who has recently returned from a
foreign tour, including Saudi Arabia, discussed with Saudi
King Abdullah the prevailing threats to hardline clerics who
enjoy the patronage of Gulf countries, the report said.
Meanwhile, the News International newspaper said the
number of visitors to the official residence of the Rehman has
been curtailed.

"The JUI-F chief has never been as much careful about
his security as he has been compelled by the Taliban threat to
be," a source was quoted as saying.

"In the past, a large number of people from Khyber
Pakhtunkhwa, particularly his native Dera Ismail Khan
district, have been visiting the JUI-F chief at his official
residence but now the number of such visitors is almost nil,"
he added.

PTI



First Published: Friday, May 27, 2011 - 18:29

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