Pro-government Taliban commander Mullah Nazir, who survived a suicide attack last month, has denied playing a role in the expulsion of Mehsud tribesmen from parts of South Waziristan Agency.
A jirga of Ahmedzai Wazir tribal elders and clerics had asked Mehsud tribesmen to leave Wana, the main town of South Waziristan, by December 5 or else they would be forced out.
According to media reports, the Mullah Nazir-led Taliban had also attended the jirga, sparking speculation that the powerful commander might have endorsed the expulsion of Mehsud tribesmen.
On November 28, Mullah Nazir was injured in a suicide attack which killed six people in Wana. The attack was blamed on the Hakeemullah Mehsud-led Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan.
However, Mullah Nazir said that they were investigating the suicide attack. “We cannot jump to conclusions. We’ll wait for the completion of our investigation,” he said in a statement. Mullah Nazir claimed that his group was not involved in the expulsion of innocent Mehsud tribesmen from Wana. “We are mujahideen. We are affiliated with Tehreek-e-Afghanistan and we believe in resolving all matters through talks,” he added. The Taliban commander claimed that he survived several attacks in the past. “America, its allies and their secret services are behind this. They are trying to create differences among Muslims,” he added.
Sympathising with Mehsud tribesmen, Mullah Nazir said that tribesmen in Wana have already expressed anguish at the suicide attack. “We know our enemies regardless of whether they are Mehsuds or Wazirs, they have already fled [the region],” he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 12th, 2012.