A prominent Pakistani Muslim spiritual leader known as the “father of the Taliban” was killed at home Friday evening in a knife attack, officials said, further roiling the country’s combustible religious tensions.
The leader, Maulana Sami ul-Haq, 81, had an overarching influence over the Taliban movement in neighboring Afghanistan and within Pakistan and led his own faction of a religious party, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam.
“He has been stabbed to death,” said Fawad Chaudhry, the country’s information minister.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility and the circumstances of the killing were unusual. Mr. Haq was inside his home in the city of Rawalpindi adjacent to Islamabad when he was stabbed by an unknown assailant.
The killing jolted Pakistan just as the government is grappling with protests by religious hard-liners after the country’s Supreme Court acquitted a Pakistani Christian woman on charges of blasphemy, a capital crime here…