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India-Pakistan
Why does Zainuddin want to kill Baitullah?
2009-06-22
[The News (Pak) Top Stories] The sudden projection and tall claims of an anti-Baitullah Mehsud militant leader from South Waziristan, Qari Zainuddin Mehsud, have created many questions in the diplomatic circles of Islamabad.

In interviews to various media organisations on Thursday, Qari Zainuddin and his deputy Haji Turkistan had alleged that Baitullah was an American and Indian agent, he had killed Benazir Bhutto and that the real Jihad was going on in Afghanistan, not in Pakistan. Many diplomats contacted Foreign Office and Interior Ministry officials as well as media persons, seeking answers to their questions. Some Western diplomats were particularly confused over the claim that Baitullah was an American agent and that he had killed Benazir Bhutto. These diplomats were asking a question that if Baitullah was involved in the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, does that mean that the American authorities were also involved in the conspiracy.

An East European diplomat also asked that on one side President Asif Zardari visited the Nato headquarter in Brussels while on the same day the Pakistani establishment allowed Qari Zainuddin to speak to the media, defending Jihad against Nato troops in Afghanistan.

Qari Zainuddin had claimed in an interview that he had developed differences with Baitullah after the death of Abdullah Mahsud. However, the story of the real differences between the two is full of allegations and revelations. According to some sources very close to Qari Zainuddin, the Pakistani establishment wanted to kill Abdullah Mehsud because he was involved in the kidnapping of two Chinese engineers. The establishment hired the services of Baitullah in 2005 against Abdullah, who had spent 23 months in Guantanamo. Abdullah was finally killed on July 24, 2007 in Zhob. Close aides of Abdullah alleged that Baitullah had helped security forces in tracing him. One Masoodur Rehman Mehsud had once alleged that Baitullah had killed Abdullah. In the meantime, Baitullah killed Masoodur Rehman through a remote control bomb in South Waziristan.

These tribal elders see no difference between Baitullah and Zainuddin. They fear that the establishment had first used Baitullah against Abdullah, and now they were using Zainuddin against Baitullah and ultimately both of them would be killed.
Qari Zainuddin is the elder son of Masoodur Rehman Mehsud and he has decided to take revenge for the murder of his father.

He is heading the Abdullah Mahsud Group. He is a former Khasadar (member of the tribal police) and active in Shakai area of South Waziristan. He killed Yahya, the younger brother of Baitullah Mehsud, on October 27, 2008 in Bannu. In retaliation, Baitullah killed a close aide of Qari Zainuddin, Muhammad Yousuf, on October 29, 2008 in Tank area.

Zainuddin recently contacted some Mehsud tribal elders but most of them are reluctant to cooperate with him. They question that if Abdullah was killed by Pakistani security forces then why the leader of his group was cooperating with the establishment? These tribal elders see no difference between Baitullah and Zainuddin. They fear that the establishment had first used Baitullah against Abdullah, and now they were using Zainuddin against Baitullah and ultimately both of them would be killed. They also fear that Qari Hussain will replace Baitullah as the new Taliban commander.

Many Mehsud tribal elders were contacted by the political administration of South Waziristan, seeking help for Qari Zainuddin. One tribal elder had reportedly told an official of the administration: "Don't fool us. President Zardari is assuring cooperation to Nato and you are asking us to cooperate with a person who is asking us to go and fight Nato in Afghanistan".
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