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Slain Taliban leader described as a martyr

Pakistan military unhappy with Islamist party chief's comments

Slain Taliban leader described as a martyr

Syed Munawar Hasan (center) has provoked a strong reaction from the military and moderate Islamic groups reporter, Rawalpindi

November 11, 2013

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The Pakistan Army on Sunday condemned the leader of the country’s main Islamist party for declaring the Pakistani Taliban chief recently killed by a US drone strike a martyr.

Syed Munawar Hasan, head of Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), told media on Saturday he considers slain Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud a martyr following his killing in Waziristan on November 1.

In a statement posted on its website on Sunday, the army accused Hasan of being misleading, saying that such comments confuse the public in its fight against terrorism.

“Syed Munawar Hasan has tried to invent a logic based on his political convenience. Strong condemnation of his views from an overwhelming majority leaves no doubt in anyone’s mind that all of us are very clear on what the state of Pakistan is and who its enemies are,” said the statement. It also demanded an apology from Hasan.

he also drew fire from the Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC), an umbrella group of moderate Islamist parties, which issued a religious edict on Saturday, denouncing the title of martyr for the slain Taliban leader.

The SIC said such a religious title for a man who had killed thousands of innocent people was contrary to the teachings of Islam.

Hpwever, Hasan's comments were supported by the leader of another Islamist party, Maulana Fazlur Rehman of JUI-F, who said that even a dog killed by the US would be considered a martyr, a strong statement in the Muslim world where dogs are widely disliked.

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