Only a day after Prime Minister Mr. Nawaz Sharif announcement on ‘Talks Inception’ with Tehreek-e-Taliban, an umbrella group waging war inside Pakistan; a deadly drone strike has killed the chief of the group: Hakimullah Mehsud.
The drone strike was reported at Dande, a Haqqani stronghold, five kilometers away from the town of Miramshah in North Waziristan. Reportedly Mehsud had embarked there for peace negotiations with the tribal elders when four hell-fire missiles were fired at his vehicle and the compound where a meeting was underway between the TTP leaders. Some reports suggest that he was evacuating the compound after drones were heard, but it was already too late and he along with two guards and few commanders got bombed.
The latest attack comes as a lethal blow to the prospects of peace negotiations between the Taliban in Pakistan and the Government. Interior Minister Mr. Chaudhary Nisar Ali termed the recent strikes as a plan to sabotage talks with the deceased leader and largely the group itself, which caters to thirty loosely bonded groups.
In Washington, the State Department spokeswoman Ms. Jen Psaki declined to comment that Mehsud has been killed.
Mehsud 30, who became the leader of TTP in 2009, in a recent exclusive interview with BBC claimed to be ‘serious’ in talks with Pakistan and also vowed to continue his war against the US and its allies.
Sources within Tehreek-e-Taliban have confirmed his death and the funeral may take place tomorrow.
The most significant aspect is that who will be the successor of Mehsud?
What approach will be taken; either revenge or the continuation of peace talks?
On May 29 2013, TTP deputy, Wali ur Rehman Mehsud was also killed in a drone strike, and TTP launched a series of retaliatory attacks in the aftermaths. According to NY times, Latifullah Mehsud, the second in command of TTP was picked up by the US forces in Afghanistan while he was on his way for a meeting with senior Afghan intelligence figures, who were using the TTP as their proxy force against Pakistan.
Sources claims that Khan Syed, nom de guerre Khalid Mehsud is the new TTP chief.
Earlier in the day, Sunni Itehad council and Jamat ud Dawa held protests against the US drone strikes while the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leader Imran Khan lambasted drones as the biggest hurdle in peace talks.
Majority of the Pakistanis are perplexed about the illegal attack that took out the ‘Enemy Number 1’ of the country. The two major narratives that stems from this drone strikes are, firstly, the US will never let peace be given a chance in Pakistan; secondly, the US is disposing off its assets in the ‘larger interest’ of the Afghan End-game, where Pakistan holds an edge over it.
Additional Inputs by Talha Ibrahim