Maulana Azam Tariq (Urdu: اعظم طارق) (March 1962 – October 6, 2003) was leader of the politico-religious organisation Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan, born in Chichawatni. The Sipah-e-Sahaba is a Sunni, Deobandisectarian terrorist organization, which was officially banned by the government of Pakistan in August 2001 for its violence against theShi'a community.
Azam Tariq was the half brother of Ahmed Madni, a cleric associated with Ahl-i-Sunnat Wal Jamaat ]Ahmed Madni was also assassinated, along with his son, in Karachi.
A graduate and teacher at the Karachi madrassa Jamia Islamia, Azam Tariq began to associate with Haq Nawaz Jhangvi, a hardline cleric from Jhang who had become known for his sermons against the Shi'a denomination. Jhangvi invited Tariq to run his madrassa in order to promote his ideology. Following Jhangvi's assassination in 1990, Azam Tariq inherited the top position in the group, when he survived the explosion in Lahore that killed another prominent front-runner for the slot, Ziaur Rehman Farooqi. During this time, the Sipah-e-Sahaba operative Riaz Basra developed differences with Azam Tariq and formed his own group, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi.
Arrest on the charges of terrorism
In August 2001, Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf banned seven alleged terrorist organizations, including Sipah-e-Sahaba, and Azam Tariq was arrested and jailed on charges of terrorism. A spate of killings of several prominent Shi'a leaders immediately followed, targeting those who were allegedly complicit in Tariq's arrest and the crackdown on his organization.
Azam Tariq was elected three times to the National Assembly of Pakistan in Jhang Sadr, even though his constituency was a predominantly Shi'a region. He contested again in the 2002 elections, while in custody, and was again elected. He was released in November 2002 and provided the crucial one-seat majority to the prime minister, Zafarullah Khan Jamali, under the Musharraf government.
Azam Tariq was shot and killed in an attack on October 4, 2003 near Islamabad as he left the M2Motorway to enter the city. Another leader, Qari Zia-ur-Rehman was also killed. Tariq's supporters blamed Shi'a sectarians for the killings, and Shi'a leader Sajid Naqvi was arrested several days later. However, the case remains unsolved.