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memri
November 8, 2013 No.
5516

Pakistani Leaders: Hakimullah Mehsud Is A Martyr; Maulana Fazlullah: 'Even A Dog' Killed By The U.S. 'Is A Martyr'; Report: The 'Farm Where [Mehsud] Died... [Was] Just A Kilometer Away' From Pakistan Army Headquarters


Syed Munawar Hasan, emir of Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan

On November 4, 2013, Syed Munawar Hasan, the emir of Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan, described the November 1 death of Hakimullah Mehsud, the emir of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), in a U.S. drone strike as "martyrdom."[1] Hasan asked the Pakistani government to subsequently block NATO supplies going through Pakistan for U.S. troops in Afghanistan, and also called the U.S. Pakistan's enemy, stating: "America was our enemy yesterday, it is so today, and tomorrow too it will not refrain from enmity against us."[2]

Speaking on the same day, November 4, Professor Mohammad Ibrahim, the chief of Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, also described Mehsud's killing as martyrdom, stating: "Those killed in the recent drone attack are martyrs, as they were eliminated when they were in the process of dialogue for permanent peace in Pakistan. America is following its own agenda without paying heed to the national interests of our country, and the drone strike to sabotage the dialogue between the government and Taliban is an eye opener."[3]

Jamaat-e-Islami leaders were criticized immediately for calling Mehsud a martyr, as in the recent past the Taliban chief had popularly been described by the Pakistani leaders as a terrorist and agent of foreign powers out to destroy Pakistan. In 2009, senior Pakistani military spokesman Athar Abbas had gone on to accuse India of supporting terrorists in the Pakistani tribal region, stating: "The government has found concrete evidence of New Delhi’s involvement in the militancy in South Waziristan."[4]

In November 2009, the Pakistani government also offered a reward of 50 million Pakistani rupees for Hakimullah Mehsud and similar rewards for several other Taliban commanders.[5]


A November 2009 government announcement declaring Hakimullah Mehsud the No. 1 wanted terrorist in Pakistan

The following are statements on the issue of whether Mehsud qualifies as a martyr:

Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan Emir Syed Munawar Hasan: "Mehsud Waged Jihad And Was Martyred While Fighting The Enemies Of Islam In Afghanistan; The Sins Of A Martyr Are Forgiven [By Allah]; That's Why I Call Him A Martyr"

Altaf Hussain, the leader of the secular Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) party, condemned Syed Munawar Hasan for calling Mehsud a martyr. According to a media report, "Altaf stated that everyone in Pakistan knew that the Taliban had killed over 7,000 officers and men of armed forces and police, and slaughtered over 40,000 innocent persons. He also accused that the Taliban killed prominent religious scholars, targeted mosques, Imambargahs [Shia mosques], churches, shrines of holy saints, and girls' schools, and also attacked important military installations. The MQM chief asked the religious scholars as to how a bloodthirsty killer of innocent people could be called a martyr. He asked if someone responsible for suicide attacks on mosques, Imambargahs, shrines, places of worship of other religions, and defense installations could be called a martyr."[6]

Responding to Altaf Hussain's statement, the Jamaat-e-Islami chief against justified calling Hakimullah Mehsud a martyr in the following words: "Altaf Hussain should study the Koran and he would find clarity on the meaning of a martyr…. Hakimullah Mehsud waged jihad and was martyred while fighting the enemies of Islam in Afghanistan. The sins of a martyr are forgiven [by Allah]; that's why I call him a martyr."[7]

Syed Munawar Hasan was widely condemned by liberal writers and columnists, especially on social media. On November 5, he found support from Maulana Fazlur Rehman, a leading religious scholar and politician who heads the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F) party. Rehman stated: "Anyone killed by the U.S., even a dog, is a martyr."[8]

The JUI-F leader also accused the U.S. of killing Mehsud in order to sabotage Pakistan's peace negotiations with the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, adding: "A lot of people still want peace negotiations and therefore the negotiations should not stop... JUI-F wants to move forward with the peace negotiations together with the other parties... The terrorist activities in the country are destroying its economy and this why peace is essential... We were trying to get Pakistan out of crisis, but the drone attack has increased instability."[9]


Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F) leader Maulana Fazlur Rehman

Report On Mehsud's Plush Home: "With The Pakistan Army Headquarters For Restive North Waziristan Just A Kilometer Away, Locals Thought Of Mehsud's Compound As The 'Safest' Place In A Dangerous Area"

Meanwhile, it has emerged that Hakimullah Mehsud lived in a plush home, which was situated just a kilometer away from a Pakistani military headquarters, thereby lending to rumors that he may have enjoyed some support from the military. These reports assume credence because Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden, who was killed in a U.S. military operation in 2011 in Abbottabad, also lived in a house not far from a Pakistani military center. A report titled "The $120,000 Farmhouse Where Pakistan Taliban Chief Hakimullah Mehsud Died" was released by the Press Trust of India news agency. The following are excerpts:[10]

"With marble floors, lush green lawns, and a towering minaret, the $120,000 farm where feared Pakistani Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud died in a U.S. drone strike was no grubby mountain cave. Mehsud spent his days skipping around Pakistan's rugged tribal areas to avoid the attentions of U.S. drones. But his family, including two wives, had the use of an eight-roomed farmhouse set amid lawns and orchards growing apples, oranges, grapes, and pomegranates.

"As well as the single-story house, the compound in Dandey Darpakhel village, five kilometers north of Miranshah, was adorned with a tall minaret – purely for decorative purposes. Militant sources said the property in the North Waziristan tribal area was bought for Mehsud nearly a year ago for $120,000 – a huge sum by Pakistani standards – by close aide Latif Mehsud, who was captured by the U.S. in Afghanistan last month [October 2013].

"[A]… journalist visited the property several times when the previous owner, a wealthy landlord, lived there. With the Pakistan army headquarters for restive North Waziristan just a kilometer away, locals thought of Mehsud's compound as the 'safest' place in a dangerous area. Its proximity to a major military base recalls the hideout of Osama bin Laden in the town of Abbottabad, on the doorstep of Pakistan's elite military academy."

Endnotes:

[1] En.jasarat.com (Pakistan), November 4, 2013.

[2] Jamaat.org (Pakistan), November 4, 2013.

[3] Dawn.com (Pakistan), November 4, 2013.

[4] Daily Times (Pakistan), November 3, 2009.

[5] Daily Times (Pakistan), November 3, 2009.

[6] The News (Pakistan), November 5, 2013.

[7] Roznama Jasarat (Pakistan), November 5, 2013.

[8] Tribune.com.pk (Pakistan), November 5, 2013.

[9] Tribune.com.pk (Pakistan), November 5, 2013.

[10] Economictimes.com (India), November 4, 2013.