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Fazlullah (militant leader)

  (Redirected from Maulana Fazlullah)

Fazal Hayat[1] (1974 – 14 June 2018), more commonly known by his pseudonym Maulana Fazlullah (Urdu: ملا فضل اللہ‎),[4] was an Islamist militant who has served as the leader of the Tehreek-e-Nafaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi, and was the leader of the Tehreek-e-Taliban in Swat Valley.[5][6] On 7 November 2013, he became the emir of the Tehrik-i-Taliban, and presided over the descent of the group into factions who are often at war with each other. Fazlullah was added to the U.S. State Department's Rewards for Justice wanted list on 7 March 2018.[7] Fazlullah was killed in a U.S. drone strike in Afghanistan on 14 June 2018.[8]

Maulana Qazi Fazlullah
Maulana Fazlullah.png
Maulana Fazlullah, in Swat, Pakistan, 2008
Fazal Hayat[1]

1974 (1974)
Died14 June 2018(2018-06-14) (aged 43–44)[2][3]
ChildrenMuhammad Hakim,
Abdul Basit (deceased)
Military career
AllegianceFlag of Tehrik-i-Taliban.svg Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan
Years of service1992–2015
RankEmir of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan
Battles/warsWar in North-West Pakistan

Personal lifeEdit

Fazlullah was born Fazal Hayat in 1974 to Biladar Khan, a Pashtun of Babukarkhel clan of the Yusufzai tribe of the Swat District of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan.[9][10] He married the daughter of Sufi Muhammad, the founder of Tehreek-e-Nafaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi. It is rumored that Fazullah kidnapped Sufi Muhammmad's daughter as a student in Sufi Muhammad Madrassa. MSNBC, a news channel in the United States, obtained a photo[11] of Fazlullah in January 2008.

Militant activityEdit

Operations in PakistanEdit

TNSM in SwatEdit

On 12 January 2002, Fazlullah became the leader of Tehreek-e-Nafaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi (TNSM) due to the enforcement of a ban by Pervez Musharraf, former President of Pakistan. The ban led to the arrest and capture of Sufi Muhammad, which placed Fazlullah into the leadership role.[12][12][13] Sufi Muhammad was freed in 2008 after he renounced violence.[14][15] Fazlullah managed to restore the organization, bootstrapping on the relief efforts by Islamist extremist groups following the 8 October 2005-earthquake.[12] New cadres then began moving into the Swat Valley.[16][17]

Alliance with Tehrik-e-TalibanEdit

In the aftermath of the 2007 siege of Lal Masjid, Fazlullah's forces and Baitullah Mehsud's Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) formed an alliance. Fazlullah and his army henceforth reportedly received orders from Mehsud.[18] A temporary cease-fire from May to September 2007 allowed Fazlullah to consolidate his political forces in Swat.[10][19]

Parallel governmentEdit

With the support of more than 4,500 militants, by late October 2007 Fazlullah had established a "parallel government" in 59 villages in Swat Valley by starting Islamic courts to enforce sharia law.[20][21]

Reports of woundingEdit

On 10 July 2009, BBC reported that Fazlullah was near death after being critically wounded, corroborating statements made by senior government and security officials in Pakistan.[6] This was a day after the army announced it had wounded the Taliban chief in the Swat valley.[22] The Taliban have denied that Fazlullah was critically injured.[23] The Pakistan army, however, refuted this claim and insisted that a man impersonated Fazlullah when he allegedly denied that he was critically injured.[24]


Fazlullah's madrasa at Imam Dherai, Swat. Pakistani security forces bombed and destroyed the compound in early June 2009.[25]

Fazlullah developed a $2.5 million madrassa with assistance from the Taliban which was used as his base of operations.[26] It was funded by the JEI faction led by Maulana Sami-ul-haq.[27]

Operations from AfghanistanEdit

On 29 November 2007, Pakistani security forces captured Fazlullah's headquarters and arrested his brother. Fazlullah himself had already fled to another village. Security Forces have now retaken most of the Swat region. In 2007, Fazullah was allegedly hiding in the Konar province in Afghanistan.[28] On 26 January 2008, it was reported that Maulvi Abdul Raziq, a close aide of Fazlullah, was arrested in the Kot area of Charbagh.[29] In November 2009, Fazlullah told the BBC's Urdu Service that he had escaped from Pakistan to Afghanistan and warned that he would continue to attack Pakistani forces in Swat.[30]

In October 2011, Maj Gen Athar Abbas complained to Reuters that Pakistan had urged Afghanistan and the US to take action against Fazlullah in response to cross-border raids in Dir, Bajaur and Mohmand from April 2011 to August 2011 but that no efforts had been made. Abbas elaborated, "Fazlullah and his group are trying to re-enter Swat through Dir."[5]

In June 2012, a TTP spokesman claimed that Fazlullah was leading attacks on Pakistan from Afghanistan's border provinces.[31] Reuters indicated that he controlled a 20-km stretch of area in Nuristan province along the Pakistani border.[32]

On 3 December 2013, it was revealed to the media by TTP spokesperson that Fazullah has crossed the Pak-Afghan border into Pakistan's tribal areas, he was expected to end the squabbling among the Taliban leadership relating to his appointment as new TTP Chief.[33][34]

Tehrik-e-Taliban leadershipEdit

After the death of Hakimullah Mehsud in a drone attack, Fazlullah was appointed as the new "Emir" (Chief) of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan on 7 November 2013.[35] According to Ehsanullah Ehsan, the former spokesperson for TTP, Mullah Fazlullah became the leader via lucky draw.[36]

Army Public School attack in PeshawarEdit

On 16 December 2014, six militants reportedly dressed as Pakistani Army soldiers entered the school through the graveyard situated on the backside of school and killed around 141 people including 132 students and the principal. In reaction to this massacre, Pakistan intensified its ongoing operation Zarb-e-Azab against the militants. Some Pakistani officials claim that Fazlullah masterminded the attack and subsequently hid on the Afghan side of the Durand Line. He narrowly escaped a U.S. drone strike on 25 November 2014.[37]

Interpretation of ShariaEdit

Radio broadcastsEdit

Fazlullah started an illegal local FM channel in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa's Swat Valley in 2006.[38] He preached forcing vice and virtue and had an anti-Western Jihadi stance. He was considered pro-Taliban and was a very powerful figure in the area. He considered most communication-based electronics as "major sources of spreading Jihad" and transmitted broadcasts of his sermons on an illegal local FM radio channel, hence the nickname "Radio Mullah" or "Maulana Radio".

FM signals were relayed from mobile transmitters mounted on motorcycles and trucks. During nightly broadcasts, prohibited activities were routinely declared and violators' names announced for assassination, which often included beheading.[39]

Introduction of Sharia courtsEdit

With Swat under Fazlullah's control he and his followers quickly moved to set up the Sharia Courts as primary judicial courts instead of when he was running them parallel to the Pakistani National Judicial Courts.[40]

Eradication of sins and the attacks on music shopsEdit

He led a drive of eradicating vices such as music, dancing, and of what he calls "major sources of sin" such as TVs, CDs, computers and other video equipment by burning the electronics or the shops in which they are housed.[41] Fazlullah threatened barbers who shaved their customers' beards and warned against girls attending schools.[11]

Anti-polio vaccination stanceEdit

He opposed a polio vaccination drive in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa claiming that aid workers were seeking to proselytise in the region, as well as spy for foreign forces. In some sermons he had also considered it against Islamic norms. He considered Hepatitis C as a more important health issue than polio and questioned the West's intentions. The propaganda had hindered the drive immensely as the local people saw volunteers and workers for the World Health Organization vaccination program as a threat and in some cases the immunization teams were physically beaten.[42]

Opposition to women votingEdit

In 2001, many seats reserved for women in northern Pakistan went unfilled due in large part to the actions of the TNSM.[43] In 2005, Fazlullah was quoted as saying: We have our tradition that bans women from taking part in the elections and violators will be punished.[43]

Opposition to female educationEdit

A 21 January 2009 issue of the Pakistan daily newspaper The News, reported Taliban enforcement of a complete ban on female education in the Swat District. Some 400 private schools enrolling 40,000 girls were shut down. At least 10 girls' schools that tried to open after the 15 January 2009 deadline by the Fazlullah-led Taliban were blown up by the militants in the town of Mingora, the headquarters of the Swat District.[44][failed verification] "More than 170 schools have been bombed or torched, along with other government-owned buildings."[45][failed verification] On 9 October 2012, an assassin instructed by Fazlullah shot Malala Yousafzai.[46] Although the attack was meant to kill Malala Yousafzai it made her a very respected and prominent leader.[47]


On 23 March 2015, Pakistani military forces and the Pakistani media reported that Fazlullah was killed on the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan. This claim was denied by the Tehrik-i-Taliban. On 14 June 2018, Fazlullah was killed in an American drone strike in Kunar Province, Afghanistan.[48][49][3] The TTP confirmed his death and announced Mufti Noor Wali Mehsud alias Abu Mansoor Asim as their new leader.[50]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b Ahmed, Farzand (20 August 2009). "Window on Pak Press: Jaswant created a royal mess- Dawn". India Today. Retrieved 8 November 2013.
  2. ^ "Pakistan Taliban chief Mullah Fazlullah 'killed in drone attack'". Retrieved 15 June 2018.
  3. ^ a b "Pakistani Taliban leader killed by U.S. strike, Afghan ministry says". Retrieved 15 June 2018.
  4. ^ King, Laura (24 February 2009). "Confusion hangs over Pakistan's pact with Taliban". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 24 February 2009.
  5. ^ a b "Mullah Radio: Pakistan urges Afghan action against Maulvi Fazlullah". The Express Tribune News. 17 October 2011. Retrieved 17 October 2011.
  6. ^ a b Hasan, Syed Shoaib (10 July 2009). "Swat Taliban chief 'near death'". BBC News. Retrieved 8 November 2013.
  7. ^ "Rewards for Justice - Wanted for Terrorism - Maulana Fazlullah". Archived from the original on 16 June 2018. Retrieved 15 June 2018.
  8. ^ "Pakistan Taliban leader Mullah Fazlullah killed in U.S. Strike, official says".
  9. ^ Khan, Khurshid (21 April 2007). "Exclusive: An interview with Fazalullah". Valley Swat. Retrieved 8 November 2013.
  10. ^ a b Roggio, Bill (7 July 2007) "Swat joins Talibanistan" The Long War Journal Public Multimedia Inc.
  11. ^ a b Grisanti, Carol (9 January 2008). "Pakistani terrorist revealed in new photo". NBC News. Archived from the original on 29 January 2009. Retrieved 19 January 2009.
  12. ^ a b c "Tehreek-e-Nafaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi (TSNM), Extremist Group of Pakistan". SATP. Retrieved 19 April 2007.
  13. ^ Hassan Abbas (12 April 2006). "The Black-Turbaned Brigade: The Rise of TNSM in Pakistan". Jamestown Foundation. Archived from the original on 30 September 2007. Retrieved 19 April 2007.
  14. ^ "Top Pakistani militant released". BBC News. 21 April 2008. Archived from the original on 17 April 2009.
  15. ^ Toosi, Nahal (2 May 2009). "Taliban to cease fire in Pakistan's Swat Valley". Yahoo News. Archived from the original on 16 February 2009. Retrieved 15 February 2009.
  16. ^ Ali, Zulfiqar; Laura King (17 February 2009). "Pakistan officials allow Sharia in volatile region". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 17 February 2009.
  17. ^ "Pakistan agrees Sharia law deal". BBC News. 16 February 2009. Archived from the original on 17 April 2009.
  18. ^ Rehmat, Kamran (27 January 2009). "Swat: Pakistan's lost paradise". Al Jazeera. Islamabad. Retrieved 3 February 2009.
  19. ^ Hameedullah Khan (22 September 2007). "Swat cleric 'ends' peace deal". Dawn. Archived from the original on 17 April 2009.
  20. ^ Qayum, Khalid; Khaleeq Ahmed (25 October 2007). "Pakistan Deploys Troops in Swat to Curb Militants (Update 1)". Bloomberg News. Retrieved 25 February 2009.
  21. ^ Salman Masood (25 February 2009). "Maulana Fazlullah". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 17 April 2009. Retrieved 12 May 2010.
  22. ^ "Swat valley refugees allowed home". Al Jazeera. 10 July 2009. Retrieved 8 November 2013.
  23. ^ Anwarullah Khan (12 July 2009). "Taliban reject claim about Fazlullah". Archived from the original on 13 July 2009. Retrieved 12 July 2009.
  24. ^ "The News International: Latest News Breaking, Pakistan News". Retrieved 12 July 2009.[dead link]
  25. ^ Security forces blow up Fazlullah’s HQ: officials Archived 14 June 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  26. ^ "Pakistan: State of Emergency Synopsis and Video". FRONTLINE/PBS. 27 December 2007. Retrieved 8 November 2013.
  27. ^ Verma, Bharat (October–December 2007). "Executive Summary: Jihadi Anarchy in Swat". Indian Defence Review. 22 (4): 111. ISBN 9788170621508.
  28. ^ Dana Priest (29 October 2013). "'Mullah Radio' believed to be behind attack on Pakistani schoolgirl". The Washington Post. Retrieved 8 November 2013.
  29. ^ "Fazlullah's aide, other militants held in Swat". Dawn. 26 January 2008. Archived from the original on 17 April 2009. Retrieved 19 January 2009.
  30. ^ Kakar, Hai (17 November 2009). "Taliban leader 'flees Pakistan'". BBC News. Retrieved 28 June 2012.
  31. ^ Khan, Tahir (26 June 2012). "TTP admits to having safe haven in Afghanistan". The Express Tribune. Retrieved 27 June 2012.
  32. ^ Georgy, Michael; Jibran Ahmad (28 June 2012). "Pakistan's Fazlullah re-emerges as a security threat". Reuters. Thompson Reuters. Retrieved 28 June 2012.
  33. ^ AFP (3 December 2013). "Mullah Fazlullah in Pakistan's tribal areas: spokesman". Dawn.Com. Retrieved 16 February 2014.
  34. ^ Saud Mehsud (3 December 2013). "New Pakistani Taliban chief comes home to lead insurgency". Archived from the original on 7 December 2013. Retrieved 16 February 2014.
  35. ^ Mujtaba, Haji (7 November 2013). "No more peace talks, 'Mullah Radio' tells Pakistan". Reuters. Retrieved 8 November 2013.
  36. ^ "Army releases former TTP spokesperson Ehsanullah Ehsan's confessional video". 26 April 2017.
  37. ^ "'Precise' drone strikes: 874 killed in US hunt for 24 terrorists in Pakistan - The Express Tribune". 25 November 2014. Retrieved 15 June 2018.
  38. ^ Buneri, Shaheen (26 January 2009). "Pakistan Falters Against Taliban in Swat Valley". World Politics Review. Retrieved 2 February 2009.
  39. ^ Richard A. Oppel Jr. Pir Zubair Shah, Ismail Khan (25 January 2009). "Radio spreads Taliban's terror in Pakistani region". International Herald-Tribune. Retrieved 26 January 2009.
  40. ^ Athar, Saleem (13 October 2007). "Mohmand Taliban behead 6 'criminals'". Daily Times. Archived from the original on 26 February 2009. Retrieved 19 January 2009.
  41. ^ Khan, Marvaiz (10 March 2007). "Music centres threatened by religious extremists". Freemuse. Archived from the original on 20 October 2007. Retrieved 19 January 2009.
  42. ^ Yusufzai, Ashfaq (25 January 2007). "Impotence fears hit polio drive". BBC News. Retrieved 19 January 2009.
  43. ^ a b Hussain, Zahid (29 July 2005) "Frontier women to defy Islamists' men-only ballot" The Times
  44. ^ The News, Pakistan, 21 January 2009.
  45. ^ Saeed Shah (20 January 2009). "Five more schools destroyed in Taliban campaign". London: The Guardian. Archived from the original on 17 April 2009.
  46. ^ "Pakistan Taliban name Mullah Fazlullah new leader". BBC News. 7 November 2013. Retrieved 7 November 2013.
  47. ^ Yousafzai, Malala, I am Malala : how one girl stood up for education and changed the world, ISBN 9781478902331, OCLC 896069870
  48. ^ "Pakistani Taliban chief Mullah Fazlullah killed in Afghanistan". Pakistan Today. 15 June 2018.
  49. ^ "'Mullah Radio', man who shot Malala, reportedly killed by US in drone strike: 10 points". The Times of India. 15 June 2018.
  50. ^ Ahmad, Jibran; Mehsud, Saud (23 June 2018). "Pakistani Taliban appoints new chief after previous leader killed in drone strike". Reuters. Retrieved 29 June 2018.

External linksEdit