Sunni group says slain Taliban chief Mehsud isn't 'martyr'
With some hardline Pakistani politicians referring to slain Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud as a "martyr", an influential Sunni Muslim group has issued a fatwa saying that doing so was against the Quran.
The Sunni Ittehad Council, a conglomeration of over 20 parties of the Barelvi school of thought, issued a statement which said that the decree was given on a query by its president Sahabzada Hamid Raza after some leaders called Mehsud, killed in a US drone strike last week, a martyr.
Leaders of the hardline Jamaat-e-Islami had triggered a controversy by referring to Mehsud as a martyr.
The fatwa said Mehsud was involved in the killing of thousands of innocent people and the fact that he was killed by a drone strike could not purge him of his sins.
It said US drone attacks were the worst kind of cruelty, tyranny and violation of human rights and international laws that had left many men, women and children dead. Drone attacks must be stopped at all costs, the fatwa said.
Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) members considered all others except like-minded people as infidels and liable to be killed, which is against the teachings of Quran and Sunnah, the fatwa further said.
The TTP also disowns the Constitution, in whose formulation clerics and religious scholars of all schools of thought had a role, and that also qualified Mehsud to be called a traitor, it said.
The fatwa was signed by the head of the Council's Ulema Board Allama Sharif Rizvi and some other members.