Amid an uptick in militant attacks in the country, renowned clerics in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa issued a fatwa (religious decree) denouncing terrorism, it emerged on Monday.

The development comes as terrorism is again rearing its head in the country, especially in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan.

Pakistan has seen a rise in terrorist attacks across the country, believed to have been planned and directed by the outlawed Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) leaders based in Afghanistan.

The TTP, which has ideological linkages with the Afghan Taliban, executed more than 100 attacks last year, most of which happened after August when the group’s peace talks with the Pakistan government began to falter. The ceasefire was formally ended last year on Nov 28 by the TTP.

The 14-page fatwa, a copy of which is available with Dawn.com, has been signed by 16 religious scholars from difference schools of thought, including Maulana Qari Ehsanul Haq, Mufti Subhanallah Jan, Dr Maulana Attaur Rehman, Maulana Hussain Ahmed, Maulana Dr Abdul Nasir, Mufti Mukhtarullah Haqqani, Maulana Tayyab Qureshi, Maulana Salmanul Haq Haqqani, Maulana Rehmatullah Qadri, Maulana Umar bin Abdul Aziz, Allama Abid Hussain Shakri, Mufti Mairajul Din Sarkani, Mufti Raza Mohammad Haqqani, Mufti Khalid Usmani, Mufti Sheikh Aijaz and Maulana Abdul Kareem.

KP Chief Khateeb Maulana Tayyab Qureshi, one of the signatories, said the ulema had issued the fatwa to answer some questions related to jihad.

Speaking to Dawn.com, he said: “Recently some so-called ulema tried to create chaos using Islam. After that, it became our responsibility to issue the fatwa.”

In the decree, the scholars condemned “spreading chaos and riots” in an Islamic state“.

They also termed those “declaring war and picking up weapons against” authorities to be “perpetrators deserving of punishment”.

The fatwa also said that “not every person has the right to declare jihad” and that it could only be declared by the head of an Islamic state.

It further said that a soldier or police official killed by the enemy during battle was a martyr, adding that there was “no doubt about his martyrdom”.

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