ISLAMABAD: Khan Syed Mehsud alias Sajna was appointed the new Tehreek-Taliban-Pakistan chief after the death of Hakimullah Mehsud, Express News reported on Saturday.
The late TTP chief Hakimullah Mehsud, who was in his thirties, had been killed in a US drone strike in North Waziristan Agency on November 1 and was buried last night at an unknown location.
Shocked at the tragic killing of Mehsud, senior Pakistan Taliban leaders were engaged in hectic consultations to elect new chief Taliban according to sources.
Taliban leaders faced the huge task of reaching a consensus on this decision as there were several possible candidates. Traditionally Mehsuds from South Waziristan have held the top TTP positions since its inception in 2007.
Taliban sources had told The Express Tribune on Saturday that Hafiz Saeed, who presently heads the TTP in Orakzai agency, also emerged as a possible candidate for the highest post when the Taliban leaders had informal discussions to choose the new leader late Friday.
Saeed, 33, who received religious education at one of the main ‘madrassas’ in Karachi, led the Taliban fighters in the mountainous Tirah valley in Khyber agency. He had been very close to all Mehsuds and enjoys respect among the Taliban leaders because of his religious credentials and his prowess as a fighter. If the Mehsuds endorse Saeed’s nomination, he could easily secure the TTP leadership, a Taliban leader had earlier said.
The Swat Taliban chief, Maulvi Fazalullah, was also on the list of possible contenders. Currently leading his Malakand fighters in eastern Afghanistan, Fazalullah in a recent video had announced allegiance to Hakimullah Mehsud and also agreed to his dialogue policy.
A Taliban commander had also included the name of Omer Khalid Khurasani, the TTP leader in Mohmand Agency, in list of the possible candidates. However the Taliban leaders are of the view he has little chances to get the slot.
Some reports mentioned the name of Qari Walayat Mehsud, identified as a first cousin of Hakimullah, as a possible candidate for the position. However, Taliban leaders say they have never heard of Walayat. Many Taliban use alias to hide their real names such as Hakimullah Mehsud whose real name was Jamshed Mehsud.
Taliban had said that the central 'shura' or council can also nominate any other person.
Baitullah Mehsud, who was also killed in a drone strike along with his wife in 2009, had launched the TTP in 2007 after he succeeded to unite all splinter factions.
The former TTP Chief, Maulvi Faqir Mohammad from Bajaur, had declared himself as the TTP chief after the killing of Baitullah Mehsud. However, Hakimullah Mehsud, was then appointed as the new leader. Faqir was also removed from the deputy chief post. He was arrested by Afghan security agencies earlier this year.
PHOTO: RADIO MASHAAL
Khan Syed Mehsud, alias Sajna, who has not received modern or religious education, is revered in the TTP because of his bravery in the battlefield. He was a close associate of Baitullah Mehsud.
Born in Zangara in Sararogh, a sub-division of South Waziristan, he belongs to Shabi Khel, a sub-tribe of Mehsud. The founder of TTP, Baitullah Mehsud had also belonged to the same tribe.
Sajna, 37, was a close friend of Hakimullah and is said to have been a key figure behind many deadly attacks that took place across the tribal belt of Pakistan.
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