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Pakistani religious leader gunned down

May 31, 2004 at 5:31 PM   |   Comments

KARACHI, Pakistan, May 31 (UPI) -- A Pakistani religious leader killed in Karachi this weekend was the Grand Teacher who trained Mullah Mohammad Omar, the elusive Taliban leader.

Mufti Nizam Shamzai, 74, was returning in his pickup truck to the Islamic University where he taught Sunday when a dozen men opened fire before fleeing. The gunmen rode in two cars and a motorcycle.

Shamzai, a Sunni Muslim, also taught Mullah Omar's principal colleagues and some of Pakistan's most extremist politico-religious leaders.

He was a friend of Osama bin Laden and a member of the Afghan Defense Council, a body created by Fazlur Rehman and other leaders of MMA. The six-party coalition of Islamist extremists that governs Pakistan's Northwest Frontier province shares power in Baluchistan and holds 20 percent of the seats in the federal assembly.

The council was created to promote jihad (holy war) against "U.S. aggression."

Retired Gen. Hamid Gul, a former chief of the Inter-Services Intelligence agency, said "America and Israel" are responsible for Shamzai's assassination.

In an interview with Nawa-I-Waqat, Gul, who is "strategic adviser" to the MMA coalition, said, "It was a targeted killing, and just like like Hamas, Israel is getting rid of every key individual of the Islamic world, especially in Pakistan."

© 2004 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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