PESHAWAR – As those politicians who were hardliner and staunch supporters of peace negotiations get busy in national political arena, outlawed militants of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) continued killing each other in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).
For past few weeks, the Jamat-e-Islami (JI) was busy in its party elections that spit out a new ameer (chief) Sirajul Haq. Similarly the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) was dealing with internal party rifts in Khyber Pakhtukhuwa (KPK) and also launched a full anti-rigging campaign against Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government.
Moreover, the national mainstream media was divided in apparent groups over Hamid Mir’s alleged assassination attempt and Geo/Jang group’s maligning campaign against Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).
Meanwhile, the outlawed ‘holy’ warriors continued killing themselves in North and South Waziristan. According to independent sources, seven members of the Mehsud group and five of Sajna group have been killed so far while the clashes are ongoing.
According to the very credible sources from ground zero, the infighting between Mehsud group and Sajna faction of TTP have recently killed a dozen more in areas adjacent to Shawal tehsil. The heavy arms fight, which source described as ‘bloody battles’ started in April’s first week when Shehryar Mehsud-led militants and Khan Syed alias Sajna’s group attacked each others over differences.
The source quoted that differences between the outlawed militants were rooted on the basic principles of ceasefire with government and security forces of Pakistan. Sajna group wanted to the release of combatant prisoners, whereas, Mehsud group wanted non-combatant prisoners to be released first from the security forces’ custody.
Hamid Mir, earlier in March, had accepted being in contact with one outlawed Taliban leader Ismatullah Shaheen who was preparing a list for prisoners which militants wanted to present before government for their release. Ismatullah Shaheen was later killed while moving in a vehicle along with his associates. Hamid Mir believed that Shaheen was preparing the list of ‘non-combatant’ prisoners.
Later, the release of at least 19 Mehsud tribesmen by the government further ignited the differences among Sajna and Mehsud militants.
It is also pertinent to mention here that before the infighting got worst, on April 7, at least 7,500 Mehsud tribesmen officially moved back to Kurram Agency of FATA as security forces cleared the area.
It was reported that at least 50 outlawed militants from Sajna and Mehsud groups were killed by their own kinds in infighting before a temporary ceasefire was established between them with the help of Afghan Taliban in mid April.
However, the ceasefire did not last long as on April 30 one key outlawed Taliban commander of Sajna group was killed in a roadside blast. Commander Amir Hamza was believed to be killed by Mehsud group. In retaliation, the deputy chief of Mehsud group was shot dead by gunmen in Miramshah, the headquarters of North Waziristan Agency.
That was the restart of infighting between outlawed ‘holy warriors’.
One former top military commander turned defence analyst, when contacted, maintained that though not confirmed but Pakistan security officials might be in contact with Mehsud group as it was very obvious now which group favors the peace dialogues.
Moreover, in a recent interview with international news agency, prime minister Nawaz Sharif also maintained that there were some elements not in favor of peace. “These elements were not in favor of Taliban either. They were the ones who carried out Islamabad Sazbi Mandi bomb blast amid ceasefire,” he added.
Imran Khan had also said that negotiation process with the outlawed militants made it clear which militant group wanted peace dialogues and which were against it.
However, the defence analyst told PakistanTribe “According to my sources, the dialogue, infighting and military operation/airstrikes would continue like a hide and seek for quite some time now. The political parties here are busy in their own businesses. Pakistan Army, however, would soon emerge as the sole authority over fate of militancy in Pakistan and it would at least take few more moths.”