Moulana Sami-ul-Haq was killed grotesquely on a day when the country was at a standstill because of the countrywide protesting of religious parties against Aasia Bibi’s acquittal. While it is too early to make any guess about the intentions of the murderer, it is the time to comment on his legacy.

Being the chief ideologue calling resistance against Soviet Union Jihad, Sami-ul-Haq had a significant influence on the ideological makeup of some Taliban leaders including Mullah Omar and Mullah Akhtar Mansour. For some people in Pakistan, the country has lost a cleric that supported Imran Khan’s provincial government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) at the peak of militancy. For others, his loss will add to the difficulties of Pakistan in persuading Afghan Taliban to join peace talks. Though the opinion is divided on the legacy of the slain cleric, however, it is true that he was one of the foremost architects of constructing and nurturing religious fundamentalism within and without Pakistan.

Many people in Afghanistan hold him responsible for the bloodshed in their country that is yet to stop since Soviet invasion. One cannot diffuse Afghans’ negative opinion of him so easily. It is true that he influenced Afghan Taliban; he had never asked them to shun away violence. In Afghanistan, civilians remain the primary target of Taliban attacks. Moreover, the violent assaults of the militants have also ruptured the social fabric of the Afghan society. Afghans think of him as someone who believed in peace at home and war abroad.

Though Sami ul Haq is no more, Pakistan need not worry much about how to bring Afghan Taliban to peace talks. It’s about time for Pakistan to redesign its relations with Kabul. Strong bilateral relations between Islamabad and Kabul will leave Afghan Taliban no choice but to come to peace talks. Sami-ul-Haq not being the intermediary between Ghani’s government and Taliban to reach a deal will also help in extenuating the suspicion of Afghans that Taliban are Pakistan’s puppets.