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.


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

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