World Bulletin / News Desk
The Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has accused the Pakistani government of involvement in the killing of its top leader Hakimullah Mehsud in a US drone attack in North Waziristan on Friday, ruling out any possibility of peace talks with Islamabad.
"The government of Pakistan is following a double game," Azam Tariq, the TTP spokesman for South Waziristan, told Anadolu Agency by phone from an undisclosed location on Sunday.
"On the one hand, the government is appealing to us for talks and on the other hand it is killing us in drone attacks in collaboration with America," he insisted.
The TTP spokesman ruled out the possibility of any talks with the government.
"Talks are impossible in these circumstances," he insisted.
Tariq played down Interior Minister Chaudry Nisar Ali Khan assertion that his government had no involvement in Mehsud's killing.
"How is it possible that the US has been carrying out drone strikes without Pakistan's permission and support?" he fumed.
"We believe that drone strikes have the full government support," said the TTP spokesman.
Ali Khan has accused the US of sabotaging the peace process by killing Mehsud along with his two senior lieutenants in a drone strike Friday.
"This is not the murder of a person. This is the murder of peace," he told a press conference Saturday.
"This is not an attack on an individual. This is an attack on peace process," asserted the minister.
Mehsud's killing has aborted government plans to initiate negotiations with the Taliban to bring an end to a decade-long war that has killed over 40,000 Pakistanis, including 4,000 security personnel.
The Taliban spokesman, meanwhile, confirmed that the TTP's Shura Council has appointed senior member Ismatullah Shaheen Bhaitni as acting leader pending the election of a new chief.
Bhaitni, in his late 30s, is one of the most senior TTP Shura Council members.
Hailing from the Bhaitni tribe, the third largest tribe in South Waziristan after Mehsud and Wazir, he is not considered in the race for the new TTP leader, Taliban sources told AA.
The Bhaitni tribe, by and large, stands alongside the government's forces in their war against Taliban.
According to Taliban and intelligence sources, Khan Syed, aka Khalid Sajna, Hafiz Saeed Gul Khan, Maulvi Fakeer Mohamed and Omer Khalid are the top favorites for the TTP leadership.
Syed and Khan are both Mehsuds and one of them is widely expected to emerge as the new TTP leader to guarantee the continued support of the powerful Mehsud tribe.
Last Mod: 04 Kasım 2013, 09:49