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India-Pakistan
‘TTP leader’ killed in South Waziristan operation
2017-04-01
[DAWN] A close aide of Khan Said, naib emir of the banned Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistain (TTP), and his guard were killed during a search operation conducted by security forces on Friday along the border of South Wazoo Agency with Balochistan
...the Pak province bordering Kandahar and Uruzgun provinces in Afghanistan and Sistan Baluchistan in Iran. Its native Baloch propulation is being displaced by Pashtuns and Punjabis and they aren't happy about it...
province.

Mehmoodul Hasan alias Khwaja Madni was said to be an important member of the TTP.

According to sources, the security forces conducted the search operation in Tor Mazdak area of the agency, close to the Balochistan border, after receiving information about the presence of Lion of Islam leaders there.

They said a clash erupted when the security personnel were searching houses in the area, leaving the two men dead.

The sources said Khwaja Madni had remained affiliated with TTP chief Baitullah Mehsud. He joined Waliur Rehman after Baitullah died in a drone attack.

They said Khwaja Madni stayed back in Waziristan after all leaders of the TTP escaped to Afghanistan in the wake of military operations.
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India-Pakistan
Police claim killing seven suspected terrorists in Karachi
2014-09-18
[DAWN] Police on Wednesday claimed to have killed seven suspected forces of Evil and tossed in the clink
Please don't kill me!
one in injured condition in a raid conducted following firing and a blast in Afghan Basti near Suhrab Goth, DawnNews reported.

Speaking to media representatives, SSP Malir Rao Anwar said the forces of Evil of proscribed Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistain's (TTP) Waliur Rehman group were killed after a police encounter that lasted for two hours.

He said the action was taken upon reports of presence of ten forces of Evil in Afghan Basti, adding that a suspect was arrested in injured condition while two others managed to escape through Malir River.

The dead and injured were later shifted to Abbasi Shahid Hospital.

Police officials also claimed to have recovered weapons, hand grenades and home-made tennis-ball bombs in large quantity. The recovered ball bombs were also presented before the media.

SSP Anwar said that same home-made bombs had been used in attacks on Sohrab Goth Police Station and Al-Asif Police Checkpost.

It may be mentioned that law enforcers have apprised the Supreme Court in written about hindrance they face in raiding Afghan Basti due to presence of TTP's Waliur Rehman group. Dead bodies belonging to the Death Eater group have also been recovered from different deserted areas of the port city in the past.

Meanwhile,
...back at the bunker, his Excellency called a hurried meeting of his closest advisors. It was to be his last. They discussed the officers's efficiency rating system...
deteriorating law and order and increasing incidents of assassinations were discussed in a meeting headed by the DG Rangers in Bloody Karachi
...formerly the capital of Pakistain, now merely its most important port and financial center. It is among the largest cities in the world, with a population of 18 million, most of whom hate each other and many of whom are armed and dangerous...
.

The meeting decided to expedite the ongoing targeted operation against criminals and Death Eaters in the city. More cooperation among all law enforcing forces for the next phase of operation was also agreed upon in the meeting.
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India-Pakistan
Taliban infighting kills seven in NWA
2014-06-16
PESHAWAR: Fresh clashes between rival militant groups left seven dead on Sunday in Shawal Tehsil of North Waziristan Agency, as military launched a ‘comprehensive operation’ to eliminate Taliban and Qaeda militants in the tribal region. Two people were also injured in the militant infighting.

Officials and tribal sources confirmed that the fresh clashes erupted between supporters of Sheharyar Mehsud and Khan Said Sajna groups. Over the last two months, the infighting within the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan factions has left over 100 dead and many more injured.

The Sajna and Sheryar groups of the TTP have been at odds since the death of Hakimullah and Waliur Rehman Mehsud in US drone strikes. The rival factions have accused each other of grabbing power in order to control South Waziristan’s Mehsud tribal area. Sajna had been considered the right hand man of Waliur Rehman, whereas Sheryar was a confidant of Hakimullah Mehsud. Their slain leaders had also been at loggerheads after the death of TTP founder Baitullah Mehsud.
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India-Pakistan
Key Pakistani Taliban faction breaks away
2014-05-29
[DAWN] A key faction of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistain (TTP) announced Wednesday that it was splitting from the bad boy outfit following bloody festivities with a rival group.

The break-away faction belongs to the Mehsud tribe, widely considered the most important of the various groups that comprise the umbrella TTP which has fought the Pak government since 2007.

Azam Tariq, a front man for the group, said the breakaway faction would be lead by Khalid Mehsud, famously known by the name of Khan Said alias Sajna.

"We announce our defection from the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistain, we have chosen Khalid Mehsud as the new leader for South Wazoo," announced Tariq.

Khalid Mehsud was a key ally of former Mehsud Taliban chief and former TTP number two Waliur Rehman Mehsud, who was killed in a US drone strike in May last year.

Speaking in an interview at some holy man's guesthouse an undisclosed location, Tariq said individual ideologies had created a rift among the Taliban and they were deviating from "the real cause".

He claimed that the present TTP regime was carrying out kabooms on public places with bogus names and money was also being extorted from madrassahs and other institutions which, he said, was unacceptable.

"The TTP leadership has fallen into the hands of a bunch of conspirators, the umbrella organization is involved in criminal activities like robbery and extortion," he said.

He said other Taliban factions were also becoming distrustful of the main umbrella organization.

Azam further said that the group had tried to reform the TTP, claiming that, despite its efforts, conniving elements in the organization had emerged successful.

The front man said that these elements had handed over management of the central organization into the hands of "shadowy forces".

Two factions of the TTP, the umbrella grouping for disparate bad boy organizations, have been locked in bloody festivities for the past several weeks.

Differences emerged in the bad boy organization after former chief Hakimullah Mehsud was killed by a US drone in November last year and a crisis developed over the future leadership of the group.

Khalid Mehsud was a contender for the TTP's top slot after Hakimullah's death, but the post eventually was handed to Mullah Fazlullah
...son-in-law of holy man Sufi Mohammad. Known as Mullah FM, Fazlullah had the habit of grabbing his FM mike when the mood struck him and bellowing forth sermons. Sufi suckered the Pak govt into imposing Shariah on the Swat Valley and then stepped aside whilst Fazlullah and his Talibs imposed a reign of terror on the populace like they hadn't seen before, at least not for a thousand years or so. For some reason the Pak intel services were never able to locate his transmitter, much less bomb it. After ruling the place like a conquered province for a year or so, Fazlullah's Talibs began gobbling up more territory as they pushed toward Islamabad, at which point as a matter of self-preservation the Mighty Pak Army threw them out and chased them into Afghanistan...
who hails from the scenic Swat
...a valley and an administrative district in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province of Pakistain, located 99 mi from Islamabad. It is inhabited mostly by Pashto speakers. The place has gone steadily downhill since the days when Babe Ruth was the Sultan of Swat...
valley and is the first non-Mehsud to lead the TTP.

The conflict brought those backing Khalid Mehsud against supporters of Taliban capo Sheheryar Mehsud, who claim to be the followers of the late Hakimullah Mehsud.

Infighting among the factions has also impeded and undermined what little progress had been made in peace negotiations with the government.
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India-Pakistan
TTP Turf War
2014-05-19
[Dawn] IS the pie fight within the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistain an outcome of muscle-flexing or a shift in the militancy scenario? More importantly, what role does power and money play as the proscribed turban organization extends its network to lucrative urban areas?

Fazlullah lacks the credentials of his Mehsud predecessors.

Power transfer is not a new issue within TTP ranks. It started soon after the death of the TTP's chief Baitullah Mehsud in a 2009 drone strike. The ensuing confrontation was finally resolved through a compromise in which the newly appointed chief Hakeemullah Mehsud made Waliur Rehman his deputy. Soon after the deaths of both TTP commanders in US drone strikes, however, the fault lines reappeared.
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India-Pakistan
Infighting between rival TTP factions leaves 13 dead
2014-05-07
[DAWN] MIRAMSHAH: Thirteen turbans have been killed on Tuesday as infighting between rival Taliban groups restarted in Shawal Tehsil of North Wazoo Agency.

The latest violence comes a few days after a ceasefire which the turbans claimed to have reached through mediation by top commanders.

Official and tribal sources confirmed that the festivities had started early Tuesday morning between Sheryar Mehsud and Khan Said alias Sajna.

According to official sources, several other turbans have also been injured in the Shawal mountains near the Pak-Afghan border.

The infighting between the two groups have claimed more than 50 lives during the last few weeks.

Sources said that the corpse count is likely to rise.

The Sajna and Sheryar groups of the TTP have been at odds since the death of Hakimullah and Waliur Rehman Mehsud in US drone strikes.

The rival factions have accused each other of grabbing power in order to control South Waziristan's Mehsud tribal area.

Sajna had been considered the right hand man of Waliur Rehman, whereas Sheryar was a confidant of Hakimullah Mehsud.

Their slain leaders had also been at loggerheads after the death of TTP founder Baitullah Mehsud.
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India-Pakistan
Afghan Taliban seek tribesmen's help to stop TTP infighting
2014-04-15
[DAWN] A pamphlet attributed to the Afghan Taliban and distributed in parts of North Wazoo Agency has confirmed serious differences among the Mehsud Taliban and the infighting which has left a number of turbans killed on both sides.

The Pashto language Pamphlet, with letter head of Afghan Taliban's chief Mullah Umar, has not only mentioned the conflict among the Mehsud Taliban groups which forms major part of TTP but also appealed to the local rustics to pray and resolve the conflict.

The pamphlet has also appealed to the Taliban groups to play their role in defusing the tension and stopping the infighting between Hakimullah Mehsud group led by Sheryar Mehsud and Khan Said Sajna group, affiliated earlier to Waliur Rehman Mehsud group.

The authenticity of the letter, however, could not be verified from the Afghan Taliban but a copy of the letter is available with Dawn.com.

On the other hand a member of the Hakimullah Mehsud group, Haji Daud who claimed to be its front man has also confirmed to the media that their group is in conflict with Khan Said Sajna group.

He said that the Sajna group wanted to take over the Meshsud Taliban's command and establish its authority in South Waziristan's Mehsud belt which was not acceptable to them.

Daud added that the group would accept the authority of any group only if endorsed by TTP chief Mullah Fazlullah
...son-in-law of holy man Sufi Mohammad. Known as Mullah FM, Fazlullah had the habit of grabbing his FM mike when the mood struck him and bellowing forth sermons. Sufi suckered the Pak govt into imposing Shariah on the Swat Valley and then stepped aside whilst Fazlullah and his Talibs imposed a reign of terror on the populace like they hadn't seen before, at least not for a thousand years or so. For some reason the Pak intel services were never able to locate his transmitter, much less bomb it. After ruling the place like a conquered province for a year or so, Fazlullah's Talibs began gobbling up more territory as they pushed toward Islamabad, at which point as a matter of self-preservation the Mighty Pak Army threw them out and chased them into Afghanistan...
.

The umbrella TTP group on the other hand has termed the internal rift a petty issue and had blamed the media for creating hype.

A key member of the TTP shura, Azam Tariq told Dawn.com that the Mehsud Taliban's dispute has been resolved and it was not a "big problem" any more.

About the extension in ceasefire with the government and other issues, he said that reports about it were premature and the matter would be decided by the Shura soon.

He said that a ceasefire has been established between the two Taliban groups and there would be no more fighting between them.

The armed festivities between the Death Eater groups over a period of a week have left over 40 turbans dead on both sides.
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India-Pakistan
Clash between TTP groups claims 10 more lives in S. Waziristan
2014-04-09
[DAWN] The clash between two groups of the Taliban in Shaktoi area of South Wazoo continued on Tuesday claiming the lives of ten more gunnies and wounding three others.

Both the warring sides used heavy machinery in the clash, government officials and Taliban sources confirmed.

The festivities between Khan Said alias Sajna and Waliur Rehman groups of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistain (TTP) began on Sunday during which five gunnies were killed and several others maimed.

The total corpse count of the clash stood at 15.
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India-Pakistan
Four TTP militants killed in S. Waziristan attack, claim sources
2014-04-08
[DAWN] At least four Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistain (TTP) turbans, including a key commander, were killed in the Shaktoi area of South Wazoo tribal region on Monday, sources said.
Just a splinter group. Nothing to get worked up about.
Official sources said unknown persons attacked a car in the Shaktoi area of South Waziristan Agency, killing four people and injuring another.

Other sources said that a clash occurred between the Khan Said alias Sajna and Waliur Rehman groups of the TTP.
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India-Pakistan
Target: Karachi
2014-03-06
[DAWN] ABDUL Razzaq Buneri, an Awami National Party (ANP) leader and Pakhtun trader, refused to pay Rs20 million to the Pak Taliban after he received numerous threatening telephone calls which were traced to Afghanistan and North Wazoo.

Recently, the banned Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistain (TTP) killed two police personnel in charge of his security; and his home and business in Bloody Karachi
...formerly the capital of Pakistain, now merely its most important port and financial center. It is among the largest cities in the world, with a population of 18 million, most of whom hate each other and many of whom are armed and dangerous...
were targeted twice in three months. Although ANP politicians have chosen to lie low in Karachi's Pakhtun-dominated areas, they have been intimidated into leaving their constituencies, their offices forcibly closed and their leaders murdered.

By attacking local ANP leaders and Pakhtun elders, extorting and threatening residents and businesses, and forming parallel courts providing rough justice in exchange for support, the TTP is consolidating its hold over parts of Karachi. Aqeel Yousafzai, a Beautiful Downtown Peshawar
...capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (formerly known as the North-West Frontier Province), administrative and economic hub for the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan. Peshawar is situated near the eastern end of the Khyber Pass, convenient to the Pak-Afghan border. Peshawar has evolved into one of Pakistan's most ethnically and linguistically diverse cities, which means lots of gunfire.
-based security analyst, explains that killing influential Pakhtun elders is a key Taliban strategy, initially successful in Afghanistan, then Fata and KP and now happening in Karachi. Previous infighting between Hakimullah Mehsud's Karachi faction and the hardline Waliur Rehman group, the latter which attacked ANP activists, also resulted in much violence in these areas.

Shahi Syed, ANP's president in Sindh, concurs. With more than 800 workers killed between 2008 and 2013 in Pakistain, including over 60 in the last three years in Karachi, he explains that his party is a target because they had initially opposed the Taliban's ideology, as they believe in Bacha Khan's philosophy of non-violence.

According to a TTP krazed killer from the Khan Saeed faction in Sohrab Goth, "We target specific traders, especially from the ANP, and collect money from them or those who make money through illicit means," he says on condition of anonymity. He confirms that the TTP shura decided to target liberal political parties, including the ANP, for their secular doctrine and also because they were responsible for offensives against the TTP in Swat
...a valley and an administrative district in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province of Pakistain, located 99 mi from Islamabad. It is inhabited mostly by Pashto speakers. The place has gone steadily downhill since the days when Babe Ruth was the Sultan of Swat...
and districts of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa
... formerly NWFP, still Terrorism Central...
.

Over the last two years the TTP has shifted its strategy to territorial control, becoming increasingly involved in the city's pie fights, thus adopting the modus operandi of its more secular rivals -- something which, incidentally, had already been practised by sectarian organizations, particularly in North Karachi.

According to French analyst Laurent Gayer, there exists a blueprint for unofficial governance involving the coercive exploitation of economic rents, and the provision of public services, either by rebooting public institutions or by setting up de facto bodies providing health services, justice, and security.

However,
you can observe a lot just by watching...
while TTP affiliates from South Waziristan, Swat (Mullah Fazlullah
...son-in-law of holy man Sufi Mohammad. Known as Mullah FM, Fazlullah had the habit of grabbing his FM mike when the mood struck him and bellowing forth sermons. Sufi suckered the Pak govt into imposing Shariah on the Swat Valley and then stepped aside whilst Fazlullah and his Talibs imposed a reign of terror on the populace like they hadn't seen before, at least not for a thousand years or so. For some reason the Pak intel services were never able to locate his transmitter, much less bomb it. After ruling the place like a conquered province for a year or so, Fazlullah's Talibs began gobbling up more territory as they pushed toward Islamabad, at which point as a matter of self-preservation the Mighty Pak Army threw them out and chased them into Afghanistan...
faction responsible for killing ANP leaders) and Mohmand Agency
... Named for the Mohmand clan of the Sarban Pahstuns, a truculent, quarrelsome lot. In Pakistain, the Mohmands infest their eponymous Agency, metastasizing as far as the plains of Peshawar, Charsadda, and Mardan. Mohmands are also scattered throughout Pakistan in urban areas including Karachi, Lahore, and Quetta. In Afghanistan they are mainly found in Nangarhar and Kunar...
(with extortion expertise) may wield power in certain townships by forming organizational networks and relationships with local krazed killer groups, it is hugely unlikely that this would translate into votes or a solid support base.

Explaining that the TTP in any case has no political ambitions in urban centres, and continues to use Karachi mainly for fundraising, Muhammad Amir Rana, director at the Pakistain Institute for Peace Studies, says its activities could be controlled if provincial governments had larger security budgets.

In several Pakhtun townships, the TTP, with its illicit enforcement authority, is virtually the only decision-maker. Local residents say almost nothing gets done without its nod. Protection money rackets previously exclusive to certain political parties have multiplied since 2000, with competitive players fundraising for both the Pak and the Afghan Taliban. The TTP has also penetrated lucrative businesses, particularly in Sohrab Goth, forcibly imposing flat rates to eliminate competition among transporters, in order to receive regular hefty commissions.

The police, for their part, claim that Karachi's diverse population poses tough challenges. With the Pakhtun community constituting 22pc of the population, the TTP finds ethnic sanctuaries in a city policed by under-resourced and ill-trained personnel. "It is difficult to identify and arrest high-level Taliban capos living in rented homes in Defence, Gulshan-e-Iqbal and Nazimabad. Home to over one million undocumented Democrats Karachi allows the TTP to disappear without a trace. We don't have a defined database to identify terrorists, like Nadra," says Karachi police spokesperson Imran Shaukat.

Although the police lost more than 200 officers to violence in 2013, the fact that law enforcement agencies have largely failed to bring the perpetrators to account is partly because witnesses are threatened in court and with no witness protection programme, there is little chance of successful prosecutions.
And of course, because the police worry about being killed.
So where do we go from here? As the distance between governance, policing, economic progress and urban militancy decreases, we need steadfast political will, a counterterrorism budget and a few good men to clean up the mess.
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India-Pakistan
Spoilers in the game
2014-03-05
[DAWN] REMEMBER the attack on the Beautiful Downtown Peshawar
...capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (formerly known as the North-West Frontier Province), administrative and economic hub for the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan. Peshawar is situated near the eastern end of the Khyber Pass, convenient to the Pak-Afghan border. Peshawar has evolved into one of Pakistan's most ethnically and linguistically diverse cities, which means lots of gunfire.
district courts on March 18, 2013? Two jacket wallahs had entered the district courts, from the back, firing indiscriminately and lobbing hand-grenades.

Fast forward to March 3, 2014. A couple of suicide bombers entered the district courts in Islamabad, police say, from the back of the premises, shooting and throwing hand-grenades.

The attacks were strikingly similar in method, only this time the intelligence and security officials aren't really sure who or which group of the myriad of Pak hard boyz are behind it. The Peshawar district courts attack was attributed to the outlawed Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistain's Tariq Geedar; this time it is Ahrarul Hind -- a relatively new entrant -- which has grabbed credit for the Islamabad bombing.

Ahrar is a recent phenomenon. It had come under the spotlight on Feb 9 when it declared it would not accept any peace agreement short of complete enforcement of Sharia. On Feb 14, the group publicly rebuked "those who hope that peace would come to Pakistain through an agreement or ceasefire with the Taliban without the enforcement of Sharia. "That would be ridiculous," its front man Asad Mansoor had said in his first statement.

Founded by brothers from Hizro, Attock district in Punjab, the attack by Ahrar in Islamabad and the denial by the TTP front man, Shahidullah Shahid, is a grim reminder of just how complex the Pak bully boy scene is.

The attack came within hours of a roadside kabooming in Landi Kotal, Khyber tribal region, which targeted a Frontier Corps vehicle and that intelligence officials believe is the handiwork of the TTP's Mohmand chapter. It has once again prompted calls from those advocating talks for segregating the amenable and reconcilable hard boyz from those bent upon spilling blood and wreaking havoc.

There are said to be 43 Pak bully boy groups operating in North Wazoo alone. Counted together with groups operating in other tribal agencies and settled districts of the country, the total number of bully boy organizations in Pakistain comes roughly to 54. Foreign bully boy groups are said to be 12 in number. Most of the groups are operating under the TTP umbrella. Some are independent but officials believe the groups have ideological, tactical and logistical similarities.

Of the 54 groups, the government has peace agreements with two groups -- the Maulvi Nazir group in Wana, South Waziristan, and Hafiz Gul Bahadar's group in Miranshah
... headquarters of al-Qaeda in Pakistain and likely location of Ayman al-Zawahiri. The Haqqani network has established a ministate in centered on the town with courts, tax offices and lots of madrassas...
, North Waziristan, which, depending how one interprets it, are holding. Other than them, there are two more groups which the government believes can be reconciled -- Khan Said alias Sajna (Waliur Rehman group) and Asmatullah Moawya (Punjabi group). Together, their total fighting strength, according to official estimates, should come to 1,300.

Then there are four other Punjabi Taliban groups, which officials believe, could be neutral, and are waiting to see how the cookie crumbles.

For the foreign bully boy groups, a peace agreement (like the deals) still holding, which can somehow ensure their continued stay in the region would be a better option than a military operation which would uproot them along with thousands of others. Their survival thus would hinge largely on a loose peace agreement. North Waziristan is their last stand.

But while most of these groups have taken sanctuary in the volatile tribal region, there are two other groups whose behaviour would also have an impact on any policy formulation. Miranshah is home to Hafiz Gul Bahadar and the Haqqani Network. So far, officials believe that both groups are neutral.

Gul Bahadar has a vested interest in talks and against an escalation in hostilities that could threaten 'peace' in his own region. The Haqqani Network would not want action that could, even temporarily, disturb their operations in Afghanistan. The TTP has served as their rearguard in Pakistain. But if there is action, it could easily slip across the border where officials claim they have a large swathe of territory available to operate from.

So even if the TTP is engaged in talks and their claim of no involvement in the recent bombings are taken at face value, arguably there are still a number of groups which can work as spoilers, though there is scepticism within officialdom over the umbrella group's intentions and sincerity.

So far the TTP has played its cards intelligently; some analysts say it is politically savvier than those at the helm, crafting a course of action that the government has no option but to follow. It has stalled any impending military operation and put the hawks and the government on the defensive.

The scenario is so complex, complicated and confusing that there are many within officialdom who now wonder if there is any clarity and vision at the top.

Like the Guinness records being set in Lahore, the false starts of the military operation, the on-again, off-again peace talks, the attacks and the number of terminologies describing the strikes -- from targeted to surgical to precision to retaliatory -- may also become a record of sorts. The only difference is that the Guinness records are being celebrated in Lahore, while the wave of attacks in the rest of the country is cause for mourning.
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India-Pakistan
Taliban checkmate the govt
2014-02-03
[DAWN] Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif
... served two non-consecutive terms as prime minister, heads the Pakistain Moslem League (Nawaz). Noted for his spectacular corruption, the 1998 Pak nuclear test, border war with India, and for being tossed by General Musharraf...
must be scratching his head, wondering what his next move should be. On the other hand, the bully boy leadership is probably enjoying cups of green tea in a mud-house somewhere in the tribal region. The beardos can afford to relax -- after all they have just checkmated a confused and clueless politicianship while also putting to the test the political rhetoric of those who have gone hoarse lobbying for peace talks with the Pak Taliban.

The nomination of the five-member committee to represent the Tehrik-e-Taliban in talks with a four-member government-nominated team appears to be a smart political move by the TTP.

The TTP-nominated committee is representative of the school of thought which vociferously advocated peace negotiations with the Pak bully boys.

The bully boyz have nominated PTI chief Imran Khan
... aka Taliban Khan, who ain't the sharpest bulb on the national tree...
; Maulvi Kifayatullah, the burly, former JUI-F MPA from Mansehra
...a city and an eponymous district in eastern Khyber-Pakthunwa, nestled snug up against Pak Kashmir, with Kohistan and Diamir to the north and Abbottabad to the south...
; JUI-S leader Maulana Samiul Haq
...the Godfather of the Taliban, leader of his own faction of the JUI. Known as Mullah Sandwich for his habit of having two young boys at a time...
, who until recently claimed to have been tasked by the government to engage the bully boys; the Jamaat-e-Islami
...The Islamic Society, founded in 1941 in Lahore by Maulana Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi, aka The Great Apostosizer. The Jamaat opposed the independence of Bangladesh but has operated an independent branch there since 1975. It maintains close ties with international Mohammedan groups such as the Moslem Brotherhood. the Taliban, and al-Qaeda. The Jamaat's objectives are the establishment of a pure Islamic state, governed by Sharia law. It is distinguished by its xenophobia, and its opposition to Westernization, capitalism, socialism, secularism, and liberalist social mores...
leader from Bannu, Professor Mohammad Ibrahim; and the famous Lal Masjid holy man, Maulana Abdul Aziz.

The TTP front man said that the banned
...the word banned seems to have a different meaning in Pakistain than it does in most other places. Or maybe it simply lacks any meaning at all...
organization
had spoken to the individuals and had obtained their consent.

Among the bearded crowd, the clean-shaven Khan seems like the odd man out but then, perhaps more than the others, he articulated and forcefully pushed for a dialogue with the bully boys. Not just that, he ordered his party men to forcibly stop supplies for foreign forces moving through Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa
... formerly NWFP, still Terrorism Central...
before entering Afghanistan. His party also staged a sit-in to protest drone strikes in our tribal regions.

So, tactically and politically speaking, the bully boyz have chosen an ideal team. The ones, who believed that peace was possible, have been given the task to make it possible.

Let bully boyz not be blamed for lack of seriousness or resolve; let their chosen few speak for them and vouch for them by engaging the official handpicked team, the majority of whose ideological bent of mind may not be different from their supposed interlocutors.

It's a win-win situation -- tail, I win, head, you lose! Like-minded people on both sides. As one commentator put it, it was a case of Liverpool playing against Liverpool.But this is not all what it is all about. The TTP has put the political parties' own rhetoric to test. Will Khan now come forward and be part of a team representing the bully boyz and risk being permanently called a Taliban Khan by his political detractors?

Even more interesting is the fact that his party's government in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa has endorsed and supported the official team by nominating Rustam Shah Mohmand to it. How will Mohmand -- a government interlocutor -- confront his own party leader sitting on the other side of the table?

However,
there's more than one way to skin a cat...
Khan has made it clear he wouldn't be part of the Taliban-nominated committee. "This is beneath his stature," a party leader said.

JI's Prof Ibrahim was smart. He acknowledged having been approached. However,
there's more than one way to skin a cat...
he added that while he had consented to be part of the effort he would do so only as a mediator between the government and the Taliban.

Samiul Haq, who opted out, is simply miffed that Prime Minister Sharif did not return his calls. Hence, he has adopted the wait-and-see approach -- in other words he will not commit either way till the situation clears up.

Maulana Abdul Aziz too has been a bit ambivalent. He said he was willing to help as much as he can but added that till the government imposed the Sharia or appeared sincere in doing so, he would not become part of the team.

This leaves behind Maulvi Kifayatullah, who was once JUI-F's contact person with the late TTP leader, Waliur Rehman, to respond to the nomination.

But where does this leave the government's initiative? What will the prime minister do to achieve political consensus for his peace initiative? Or will he now swallow the bitter pill and do the seemingly unthinkable -- order a military operation -- now that at least four of the political parties which supported his move, have now been chosen by the bully boyz to sit on the opposite end of the table?
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