ISLAMABAD, Nov 5: JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman left parliamentary reporters scratching their heads here on Tuesday by his remark that “even a dog killed by America is a martyr”, when asked if he considered Hakeemullah Mehsud, chief of the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan killed in a US drone attack, to be a ‘martyr’.

Although Maulana Fazl often uses pungent one-liners to dodge loaded questions, his response this time forced his party to issue a clarification within hours, saying he had made the remarks “in rhetorical sense”.

The Maulana was talking to a group of reporters while entering the Parliament House to attend the National Assembly session where he also took part in the debate on the recent US drone attacks.

JUI-F spokesman Jan Achakzai said Maulana Fazl had spoken rhetorically and the party believed “it is only Almighty Allah who decides who is a martyr or who will go to heaven or hell. Generally, the word martyr is used... when a Muslim is killed by a non-Muslim.”—Staff Reporter