Sami ul Haq was born on 18 December 1937 in Akora Khattak, North-West Frontier Province of British India (now Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan). His father was Moulana Abdul Haq, who was educated at Darul Uloom Deoband in India. He began his education in 1366 AH (1946 or 1947 CE) at Darul Uloom Haqqania, which was founded by his father. There he studied fiqh, usul al-fiqh, Arabic literature, logic, Arabic grammar (sarf and nahw), tafsir, and Hadith. He was well versed in Arabic but also used Urdu, the national language of Pakistan, and the regional language of Pashto.
Haq stated that the US Ambassador to Pakistan, Richard G. Olson, visited him in July 2013 to discuss the situation of the region. Haq sympathized with the Taliban, stating: “Give them just one year and they will make the whole of Afghanistan happy… The whole of Afghanistan will be with them … Once the Americans leave, all of this will happen within a year… As long as they are there, Afghans will have to fight for their freedom,” Haq said. “It’s a war for freedom. It will not stop until outsiders leave.”
Sami-ul-Haq was regarded as the “Father of the Taliban” and had close ties to Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar. Sami ul Haq was the chancellor of Darul Uloom Haqqania, a Deobandi Islamic seminary which is the alma mater of many prominent Taliban members. Haq served as chairman of the Difa-e-Pakistan Council and was the leader of his own faction of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam political party, known as JUI-S. Sami ul-Haq was also a founding member of Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal.
He had also served as a member of the Senate of Pakistan. He formed Mutahida Deeni Mahaz (United Religious Front), an alliance of relatively small religio-political parties, to participate in the 2013 general election. On 25 March 2013, he unveiled the electoral manifesto of the Front, pledging that all high offices of the state, including the president, prime minister, chief justice and chiefs of armed forces, would be held only by Sunni Muslim men. It also talked of abolishing coeducation and advocated training all adult Muslims for jihad.
In November 1991, Madam Tahira, a 35-year-old former dancer, who ran a brothel for about nine years was arrested in Islamabad. Officers had raided Tahira’s house and arrested her on charges of possession of illegal weapons and liquor. Police said they also seized her diary, which contained a list of clients, and visiting cards of businessmen, leading bureaucrats and Islamabad-based diplomats. She claimed if she would be taken down she would take down others and Tahira claimed her most frequent customers included at least one Cabinet minister and other lawmakers including Maulana Sami ul-Haq. While denying any involvement, Maulana Sami ul-Haq resigned as vice president of the Islamic Democratic Alliance government and as a senator. “I’m innocent. I’ve been framed by government agencies for opposing official policies,” he shouted in the House, but later resigned from office.
After Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan called polio vaccination un-Islamic, forcing people to stop inoculating their children, on 9 December 2013 Maulana Sami ul Haq issued a fatwa in favour of polio vaccination. The fatwa says “vaccination against deadly diseases is helpful in their prevention according to research conducted by renowned medical specialists. It adds that the vaccines used against these diseases are in no way harmful”.
On 2 November 2018, Sami-ul-Haq was assassinated at his residence in Bahria town, Rawalpindi. He was stabbed multiple times. According to his guard, he had intended to join the protests against the acquittal of Asia Bibi in Islamabad, but he could not join it due to road blockage.