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Pak Taliban outfit split over peace talk offer

world Updated: Aug 26, 2013 02:32 IST
Imtiaz Ahmad
Imtiaz Ahmad
Hindustan Times
Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan

As the Pakistan government offered peace talks to the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), the militant organisation is believed to have split over the proposal — with one faction favouring talks and another opposing the move.

Over the weekend, TTP chief Hakimullah Mehsud dismissed Ismatullah Moavia, a top leader of the Jaish-e-Muhammad organisation and head of what was described as the “Punjabi Taliban” when he welcomed the government’s overtures.

This is seen as a major crack in the TTP as factional heads debate on whether to support the talks with the government or not.

On Sunday, interior minister Nisar Ali Khan said that at this stage “dialogue and only dialogue” was what the government proposed for the Taliban.

But the TTP took strong exception to Moavia’s statement. A meeting of the TTP with Mehsud in the chair decided to expel Moavia from their organisation. TTP spokesman Shahidullah Shahid said that the statement of Moavia “had hurt the Taliban leadership.”

Meanwhile, some observers say that the Jaish-e-Muhammad may formally break away from the TTP if Moavia’s expulsion is not taken back.