Pir Samiullah

Who is Pir Samiullah and Why He Was Exhumed ?

The exhumation and hanging of Pir Samiullah’s body at a square after his killing petrified the already terrified people of the militancy-plagued Swat valley, but the militants instead of repenting the act threatened to hit every person supporting the existing system in Malakand division.

Pir was already a ‘persona non grata’ for the militants for being the member of the Barelvi school of thought, but he invited the militants’ wrath after challenging them. Pir was killed during a fierce gunfight between his followers and the militants on December 13. The militants, who had also taken his 200 followers hostage, did not know about the killing of Samiullah as they thought he might have escaped.

“When found involved in an attack on our fellow’s house, our fighters besieged and finally entered his Darbar (house) after a clash. We searched the premises for Pir but did not find him and concluded that he had escaped, burning 15 houses owned by him and his followers. However, we exhumed his body when, a day later, we came to known about his killing and secret burial. Actually, he was not properly buried but was stuffed in a hole while still dressed in Shalwar,” a source among militants told The News.

The militants cannot tolerate opposition to them and any person who dares to do so would meet the same fate, was the real message the militants wanted to convey to the people by humiliating the body of Pir.

A senior commander of the Swati militants while explaining why they were so angry with Pir said that he was a Mushrik (the one who ascribes partners to Allah) besides fighting with Taliban militants and being loyal to the government.

“Fighting against Taliban is fighting against Qura’an, an act that we will not be tolerated. He was fighting against us at the behest of the government. Not certain personalities, but all those who support this (the existing) system will be hit irrespective of being a politician, a cleric or my own father,” he said, adding they hanged the body of Pir to make him an example for others – the practice, according to them, is being done in certain countries.

To a question regarding people’s criticism of the incident, he said it was not the first incident in the country as bodies had also been exhumed officially.The commander claimed that they had recovered Indian currency and 50 Kalashnikovs from the premises of Pir’s house, which showed that he was taking assistance from India. “We have a recording of it,” he insisted.

However, another militant source said Pir drew the militants’ ire when he attacked Bin Yameen, a top Taliban commander. “He was going to Mandal Dag to get a treatment from a Hakeem but Pir thought Yameen and our fellows were going to attack him, prompting him to attack them. We killed four followers of Pir while suffered the destruction of a vehicle.

However, we settled the issue through a jirga but Pir was not sincere and joined hands with the government against us,” he said. He said their investigation of a hand grenade attack on the house of a Taliban militant in the Mandal Dag area, a few days before Eidul Azha, found Pir’s involved in the incident. “Then we decided to handle him and stormed his house, resulting in his killing,” he added.

On October 26, the militants killed 12 jirga members in Gwalerai for holding a jirga against Taliban, and hanged the bodies to ‘teach a lesson to others.’ The security forces encouraged Pir to raise a force against the militants but did not come to his help, as usual, when he was under attack from the militants, further denting public trust in them.

Belonging to Barelvi school of thought, Pir Samiullah, 30, had generated a controversy a few years ago which resulted in the killing of a person, forcing his followers to build a separate mosque and a house for him in the area.

Followers from various parts of the country, including Dir, Chitral, Bajaur, Punjab and Sindh provinces, visited him. Pir had passed his secondary school certificate examination from the Labat Government High School. He had three wives.

He challenged the powerful militants a few months ago and raised an armed lashkar against them on October 10. He lost his brother in the first encounter with Taliban combatants and was killed himself in the second. The militants buried him at an unidentified place ostensibly to stop his followers from building a shrine onto his grave.