ISLAMABAD - As a major blow to the unity of banned Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) since its inception, the main fighting force of Mehsud tribe has divorced itself from the orthodox ideology of Mullah Fazlullah, the current chief of the militant outfit.
The Mehsud tribe has not only distanced itself from joining the fighting force of TTP but has also quit the decision-making body of the outlawed group known as Taliban Shura, which sources said was the biggest setback to the militant organisation.
From now onwards, Mehsud Taliban would be headed by Khan Said aka Sajna, also known as Khalid Mehsud. Sources close to Sajna describe him a skilled fighter and a powerhouse of TTP, besides having great sense of humour and having immense liking for his two wives that ultimately earned him a nickname of Sajna, the beloved.
The latest crack has not only deprived Fazlullah-led TTP of the ferocious fighting force besides reducing its powerful Shura also known as verdict machine to a few people after its influential members, including Raees Khan Mehsud (Azam Tariq), Azmatullah Mehsud, Mufti Noorwali and Shamim Mehsud, joined the force of Sajna.
“We cannot side with an ideology based on kidnapping for ransom, carrying bomb blasts at public places, attacking worship places and scaring its own people. We parted ways with TTP for misusing the name of Islam,” a close friend quoted Khan Said Sajna as saying after divorcing himself from Fazlullah-led TTP.
Except for Sheharyar Mehsud, a TTP commander, the entire Mehsud elders have put their weight behind the new Mehsud group of Taliban. Abdullah Shah Mehsud, commander of Shaktoi region and one of the key fighters in Sajna group, was quoted as saying Mullah Fazlullah and his cronies were using the shoulders of Mehsud fighters for destroying the country.
“Let me tell you that TTP does not exist anymore after the latest move. Now Mehsud will fight those whose religion permits kidnapping for ransom, killing of innocent people and other immoral activities,” a former member of Taliban Shura who is now in Sajna’s camp, told The Nation Wednesday.
The defection of the Mehsud group from TTP, according to observers, is more than a blessing for the security forces fighting TTP in the tribal areas and the government for segregating good Taliban from hardliners.
“TTP has ceased to be the umbrella organisation of all militant outfits. I think it is great success for the government. Sooner or later, more groups will split and this is what the security forces want. Sajna, being pro-talks, is de facto chief of TTP,” Hassan Khan, an expert on militancy told The Nation.
He said Sheharyar Mehsud was a weak commander as compared to Sajna, adding apart from Mehsuds, Punjabi Taliban also supported Khan Said. “I think the government would be in a position to talk to Pakistani Taliban and flush out Afghn Taliban from Pakistani soil,” he observed.
However, the Mohmand chapter of TTP that has affiliation with Mullah Fazlullah’s faction and has joined the forces of Sheharyar Mehsud in North Waziristan is still giving tough time to Sajna group over supremacy in Waziristan areas.
“Abdullah Shah Mehsud of Sajna group is enough for flushing out infidels from North Waziristan. The tribes other than Mehsuds are trying their best to capture Waziristan, but their dream will not be materialised,” a Mehsud close to commander Abdullah Shah told this reporter.