Negotiations continue: Taliban pick interim leader

Spokesman says Taliban were waiting for talks while ‘govt was finalising deals with US to sell us’.

Afp November 03, 2013
Asmatullah Shaheen Bhittani is the head of Supreme Shura. PHOTO: FILE


The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pak­istan (TTP) has appointed Asmatullah Shaheen Bhittani, the head of the Supreme Shura, as the interim leader to head the group, a spokesman said on Sunday.

Former TTP chief Haki­mullah Mehsud was killed along with four cadres in North Waziristan Agency near the Afghan border on Friday. Shahidullah Shahid, the central spokesman for the TTP, said a permanent replacement had not been chosen yet.

“Asmatullah Shaheen Bhittani, the head of the Supreme Shura, has been appointed as temporary head of the TTP,” Shahid said, adding that prayers for Hakimullah were still going on.

The killing of Hakimullah sparked a furious reaction from the government, which accused Washington of sabotaging fledgling efforts towards peace negotiations with the Taliban.

Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar said a group of religious scholars had been ready to go and meet the TTP to initiate talks, which have been backed by all major political parties, when the drone struck.

Shahid refused to say there was no chance of the talks going ahead, but accused the government of kowtowing to Washington and cutting a deal to ‘sell’ the militants.

“Nobody in history has ever negotiated with slaves,” he said. “We were waiting for a meeting, while the Pakistan Army and government were sitting with the US finalising deals to sell us.”

Shahid stopped short of vowing revenge for Hakimullah. “Time will tell whether we take revenge of his martyrdom or not,” he said.

In the past, the TTP has responded to its leaders being killed with deadly violence.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 4th,2013.


g | 8 years ago | Reply

Is there a bullseye on the top of that headdress?

Abbasi | 8 years ago | Reply

*****while the Pakistan Army and government were sitting with the US finalising deals to sell us***** Well this thing did not come to your mind when the whole nation was waiting for negotiation and you attacked a general of Pakistan army and you murdered dozens of criestians in their church. This thing did not came to your mind when you attacked army location in south waziristan with suicidals...The ppl with less religious knowledge are always a biggest danger for the religion and same are you ppl who deserved to be killed one by one.

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