Sunday Nov 03, 2013

Talks with ‘US slaves’ not possible: TTP spokesman

PESHAWAR: The proscribed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has ruled out the possibility of holding a dialogue with the Pakistan government, saying talks with the 'US slaves' were no longer possible, Geo News reported Sunday.

“The (Pakistan) government has given us the present of Hakimullah Mehsud’s dead body,” said Shahidullah Shahid, spokesman of the banned TTP, in a media statement which has come amid optimistic statements from the Pakistan government regarding the fate of the proposed peace talks.

Shahidullah Shaid said the selection of the TTP’s successor will be made in the next couple of days.

Earlier today he said the TTP had appointed an interim leader to head the group temporarily after the death of commander Hakimullah Mehsud in a US drone strike.

Mehsud, who had a $5 million US government price on him, was killed along with four cadres in North Waziristan tribal district near the Afghan border on Friday.

"Asmatullah Shaheen Bhittani, the head of the supreme shura, has been appointed as temporary head of the TTP," Shahid said, adding that prayers for Mehsud were still going on.

The killing of Mehsud sparked a furious reaction from the Pakistani government, which accused Washington of sabotaging fledgling efforts towards peace negotiations with the Taliban.

Interior minister Chaudhry Nisar said a group of clerics had been ready to go and meet the TTP to initiate talks, which have been backed by all major political parties, when the drone struck.

"We were waiting for a meeting, while the Pakistan army and government was sitting with the US finalising deals to sell us."

"Time will tell whether we take revenge of his martyrdom or not," he said. In the past, the TTP has responded to its leaders being killed with deadly violence.