Maulana Sami ul-Haq, the leader of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-S) political party, was assassinated by an unidentified knife-wielding assailant in his home in Rawalpindi on the evening (local time) of Friday, November 2. Small demonstrations denouncing the killing have reportedly broken out in Aabpara chowk (Islamabad). The assassination comes amid ongoing nationwide unrest over the recent acquittal of a Christian woman in a blasphemy court case. A heightened security presence and localized traffic disruptions are to be expected near related protest sites.
Maulana Sami ul-Haq was a former senator and religious scholar and was described as the "Father of the Taliban" because of his links to late Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar and other Taliban members that studied at his Deobandi Islamic seminary, Darul Uloom Haqqania.
High social tensions and unrest have been reported in Pakistan following the recent acquittal of a Christian woman previously sentenced to death on blasphemy charges. Islamist groups, notably including Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), have staged protests and acts of civil disobedience nationwide since October 31, resulting in clashes with security forces, roadblocks, large demonstrations, and rail and flight disruptions across the country.
Individuals in Pakistan, particularly those in Islamabad and Rawalpindi, are advised to closely monitor developments to the situation, avoid all protests and demonstrations as a precaution, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities.
In general, as protests over the recent blasphemy case acquittal continue, prepare for associated transportation disruptions (including flight delays and cancelations), minimize nonessential movements, be prepared to shelter in place, avoid all demonstrations due to the risk of violence, and refrain from discussing sensitive religious and political topics in public.
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