LAKKI MARWAT: A Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) commander believed to to be the mastermind behind the deadly bombings in Lakki Marwat in January, 2010, among a number of suicide bombings, was gunned down by unidentified men in South Waziristan Agency on Tuesday.
Commander Ashraf Ali, who had orchestrated the Shah Hassan Khel, Lakki Marwat bombing, eventually killing more than a hundred people, was wanted by security forces in connection with multiple suicide blasts. His death was confirmed to The Express Tribune by another TTP commander on Tuesday, who said that Ali had been buried in a village near Miranshah in North Waziristan.
“His body was brought from South Waziristan to a village near Miranshah, the main town of North Waziristan Agency, where his funeral prayers were offered,” claimed the commander, who wished not to be named. “His body bore bullet wounds, with multiple head injuries,” he said.
The TTP commander added that another person from the lesser known Qari Munawar group had also been killed in the attack on Commander Ali. This man could not be identified.
“Not many people participated in the funeral” he explained, in a sign that Ali may have lost support from the group prior to his murder.
Commander Ali had claimed responsibility for several attacks on the security forces including a suicide attack on the Lakki Marwat police line on September 6, 2010 in which 14 people were killed.
Officials also suspected his involvement in the murders of renowned scholar and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F) leader Muhammad Azeem Khan Begokhel. They also believe he was behind the murder of Marwat Peace Jirga chief Moulana Mohsin Shah on May 13, 2012.
The commander’s death could possibly be part of the recent episode of in-fighting between rival militant groups in the tribal belt while still under the umbrella of TTP.
There has been no official confirmation of Commander Ali's death yet.
Commander Ali, who coincidently hails from Shah Hassan Khel village, had set up a training camp there prior to a military operation. Many of his accomplices were killed during the 2009 operation but he managed to escape. The Commander continued attacking the local police and security forces deployed in that area.
The Ashraf Ali group is an off shoot of the TTP and has claimed responsibility for bombing several schools. His group were also involved in threatening and extorting locals.