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Pak Taliban threatens to target Nawaz's party leaders

November 04, 2013 13:31 IST

Blaming the Pakistan government for the killing of its chief Hakimullah Mehsud, Taliban has warned that it "will soon start targeting" the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leadership for its alleged support to the United States in the region.

The Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan also announced that it would not hold any peace talks with the Nawaz Sharif government and threatened to avenge the killing of Hakimullah in a Central Intelligence Agency-operated drone strike.

Geo News quoted an unnamed senior militant commander operating in Afghanistan as saying that they would soon start targeting the PML-N leadership for its alleged support to the US in the region.

TTP spokesman Shahidullah Shahid said the group's leadership knew that the government was not sincere in peace talks but had decided to hold negotiations "for the sake of the Pakistani people".

"We did not want innocent Pakistani people to suffer any more and therefore decided to hold negotiations with the government. But the government, by helping the US in the killing of Hakimullah Mehsud, proved that there was zero sincerity in the mind of the rulers. It was neither sincere nor serious in peace negotiations," the Taliban spokesman was quoted as saying by the report.

He warned the government would have to pay the price for, what he termed playing a double game with the TTP.

Shahidullah said Hakimullah's killing was a "huge loss" to the Taliban, adding they would always feel his absence.

"We are passing through a difficult phase and are still in the state of mourning. And that's the reason we could not sit to choose his successor," he remarked.

He said the TTP Shura would hold its meeting within the next few days and would choose the next Taliban leader.

When told about reports that the Shura had held its meeting in North Waziristan but could not develop consensus over one name, the Taliban spokesman said it was not true.

He said all the Shura members had been informed about the meeting and they would soon gather at a safe place to choose Hakimullah's successor.

Image: Pakistan Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud who was killed in a CIA-operated drone strike

Photograph: Reuters

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