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Controversial cleric Sufi Muhammad dies in Peshawar

July 11, 2019
Controversial cleric Sufi Muhammad dies in Peshawar

File photo: AFP

Maulana Sufi Muhammad, the founder of the outlawed Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi, has died in Peshawar, his son confirmed Thursday. He was 92 years old.

Sufi Muhammad was born in Lower Dir’s Maidan area in 1933. The TNSM leader studied at a madrassah in Swabi.

The controversial cleric formed TNSM in 1992 when he left Jamaat-e-Islami after developing differences with the party leaders.

The TNSM leader, who worked closely with Afghan and Arab fighters during the Afghan-Soviet war, was an influential personality in Malakand division, which includes Swat, Buner and Upper and Lower Dir. He demanded implementation of Shariah laws in the Malakand division.

In 1994, his group launched an armed revolt in Malakand and occupied several government buildings. The revolt ended after the government accepted his demands and set up Qazi courts in the region.

After 9/11, Sufi Muhammad led his small army to Afghanistan to fight American forces. He returned, but several men who accompanied him never came back.

Mullah Fazlullah, the notorious former leader of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan who was killed in Afghanistan in June 2018, was a student and son-in-law of Sufi Muhammad.

Maulana Sufi Muhammad was released from jail in January 2018. He was imprisoned in 2009 for hate speech against the government.

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