DI KHAN: He was first named Jamshed, but when he became the spokesperson for Baitullah Mehsud, the former Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan chief, he was known as Zulfiqar Ali.
After Baitullah was killed in a drone strike in August 2009, he became known by his birth name Hakimullah Mehsud and took over the reins of power.
He belonged to the Ishangi, the sub-tribe of Mehsud, and was the eldest of three brothers. The TTP chief was fond of cricket and used to play the sport. His hobbies included speeding and firing, before and after he joined the TTP.
Before joining the Taliban, he had a small shop in Kotkai area of South Waziristan. He had studied till class eight from a government middle school for boys in Kotkai and had also received basic religious education in a madrassa.
Road to becoming amir
When he initially joined the TTP, he was a low-profile militant, but later, he was able to develop close ties with Baitullah, who appointed him commander of the TTP in Khyber, Kurram and Orakzai agencies, where Hakimullah played a frontline role in attacking Nato supply containers.
In 2010, Hakimullah appeared in a video with a Jordanian double agent suicide bomber claiming responsibility for the Camp Chapman attack killing seven CIA officers and contractors in the Afghan province of Khost. This appearance took him to the high watermark of popularity.
Political connivance plus revenge
Hakimullah had a smile on his face at all times, even when he took revenge. And he made sure he always took revenge from his opponents, including Mullah Nabi Hanafi from Orakzai Agency.
Differences between Hakimullah and Mullah Hanafi increased to the brim when Baitullah Mehsud appointed the former as the TTP head in Orakzai Agency instead of the latter. In early 2008, Hanafi parted ways with the TTP and formed his own militant group, called the Hanafi Caravan or Hanafi militia.
He gave the guns a rest when it suited him. He resolved situations through dialogue and maintained political ties with the Mullah Nazir Group of Wana, despite the expulsion of TTP militants from Wana after a suicide attack targeted Mullah Nazir.
He also maintained peaceful ties with the Hafiz Gul Bahadar Group in North Waziristan, where Hakimullah remained most of his lifetime.
One of his brothers was also militant and was killed during an attack on Razmak camp in North Waziristan. He was a cousin of Qari Hussain, known as the master-trainers of suicide bombers, who was also killed in a drone strike in October 2010. He had two wives, one from his own tribe and the second from Orakzai Agency, and was the father of a son and a daughter.
Nek Muhammad South Waziristan Agency
Baitullah Mehsud was killed in the Zangar area of South Waziristan
Qari Hussain Mehsud was killed in Mirali town of North Waziristan
Maulvi Nazir was killed in Birmal tehsil in Wana subdivision, South Waziristan
Waliur Rehman Mehsud killed in Chashma area of Miramshah in North Waziristan
Published in The Express Tribune, November 2nd, 2013.