Fazlullah (militant leader)
Fazal Hayat (1974 – 14 June 2018), more commonly known by his pseudonym Fazlullah (Urdu: ملا فضل اللہ), was an Islamist militant who has served as the leader of the Tehreek-e-Nafaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi, an organisation aiming to enforce their interpretation of Sharia in Pakistan, and was the leader of the Tehreek-e-Taliban-e-Pakistan in Swat Valley. On 7 November 2013, he became the emir of the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, 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. Fazlullah was killed in a U.S. drone strike in Afghanistan on 14 June 2018.
Maulana Qazi Fazlullah
Maulana Fazlullah, in Swat, Pakistan, 2008
|Died||14 June 2018 (aged 43–44)|
Abdul Basit (deceased)
|Allegiance|| Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan |
|Years of service||1992–2015|
|Rank||Emir of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan|
|Battles/wars||War in North-West Pakistan|
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. 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 of Fazlullah in January 2008.
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. Sufi Muhammad was freed in 2008 after he renounced violence. Fazlullah managed to restore the organization, bootstrapping on the relief efforts by Islamist extremist groups following the 8 October 2005-earthquake. New cadres then began moving into the Swat Valley.
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. A temporary cease-fire from May to September 2007 allowed Fazlullah to consolidate his political forces in Swat.
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.
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. This was a day after the army announced it had wounded the Taliban chief in the Swat valley. The Taliban have denied that Fazlullah was critically injured. The Pakistan army, however, refuted this claim and insisted that a man impersonated Fazlullah when he allegedly denied that he was critically injured.
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. On 26 January 2008, it was reported that Maulvi Abdul Raziq, a close aide of Fazlullah, was arrested in the Kot area of Charbagh. 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.
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."
In June 2012, a TTP spokesman claimed that Fazlullah was leading attacks on Pakistan from Afghanistan's border provinces. Reuters indicated that he controlled a 20-km stretch of area in Nuristan province along the Pakistani border.
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.
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. According to Ehsanullah Ehsan, the former spokesperson for TTP, Mullah Fazlullah became the leader via lucky draw.
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.
Interpretation of ShariaEdit
Fazlullah started an illegal local FM channel in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa's Swat Valley in 2006. 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.
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.
Eradication of sins and the attacks on music shopsEdit
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: religious police|
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. Fazlullah threatened barbers who shaved their customers' beards and warned against girls attending schools.
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.
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. 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.
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.[failed verification] "More than 170 schools have been bombed or torched, along with other government-owned buildings."[failed verification] On 9 October 2012, an assassin instructed by Fazlullah shot Malala Yousafzai. Although the attack was meant to kill Malala Yousafzai it made her a very respected and prominent leader.
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. The TTP confirmed his death and announced Mufti Noor Wali Mehsud alias Abu Mansoor Asim as their new leader.
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