After getting released from prison on compassionate grounds, founder Tehreek Nifaz-e-Shariat Muhammadi (TNSM) Maulana Sufi Muhammad said the Pakistan Army soldiers are like Mujahideen (holy warriors) and waging war against them is prohibited in Islam. In an interview to a private TV channel, the ailing 93-year-old cleric declared the militants waging war against the state as apostates. “Mullah Fazlullah [chief of Tehreek-e-Taliban] inflicted more losses to Islam than disbelievers,” he asserted.
He said the chief of the militant outfit deserved a death penalty as punishment for causing harm to the innocent and Islam. He said the movement for the enforcement of Sharia laws under his leadership remained peaceful until the arrival of Americans in Afghanistan. “Mullah Fazlullah [Sufi’s son-in-law] took over the control of the TNSM and established contacts with Afghan Taliban,” he added.
This was his first interview to media in recent years. Denouncing the TTP’s actions, he said Islam strictly prohibits the killing of women and children, while regretting the attack on Army Public School (APS) which claimed around 150 lives. He said the country would have been divided, had Pakistan Army not been there to foil the conspiracies.
Sufi Muhammad was granted bail by Peshawar High Court (PHC) on ‘compassionate grounds’ earlier this month after his lawyer pleaded for his release after serving years in prison. The cleric was arrested on Nov 20, 2001 in Kurram Agency while he was returning from Afghanistan, where he had allegedly gone along with thousands of his supporters to fight foreign troops.
Muhammad was released in April 2008 after he disassociated himself from the militant groups and signed a peace deal with ANP-led provincial government. However, he was again taken into custody again during a military operation in Malakand division.—NNI