TTP split

The Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) now has an offshoot, Tehrik-i-Taliban Islami (TTI). Fazal Saeed, a TTP commander from Kurram Agency, declared that he was parting ways with the TTP leadership and along with his 500 fighters he is forming his own group, TTI. “We abhor killing innocent people through suicide attacks and bomb blasts, attacks on our own army and destruction of social infrastructure. The new organisation will not attack our own security forces,” Saeed said in a statement on Monday. Saeed protested at “suicide attacks against mosques, markets and other civilian targets”. It is important to note that Saeed vowed to continue jihad against foreign forces in Afghanistan and anti-Islam elements within Pakistan. Even though Saeed’s splinter group might not have much of an impact on the TTP’s terrorist activities, it is an indication that the TTP is not a solid and cohesive organisation.

When Hakeemullah Mehsud became Baitullah Mehsud’s successor, it was said that he was hot-headed and immature. Maybe his lack of leadership qualities have led some members of the TTP to now come out in the open about their displeasure with the organisation. It is said that recently Hakeemullah Mehsud ousted a commander from Orakzai Agency for being pro-government. On the surface, these small defections or ousters in the TTP may not seem important but if this trend continues, it is bound to weaken the TTP. What needs to be done right now is for the army to take advantage of this situation. The TTP has not just targeted civilians but also the Pakistani security forces. While the TTP is considered 'bad' Taliban by our military establishment, the Haqqanis are assumed to be 'good' Taliban. This distinction must end if we really want to rid Pakistan's soil of terrorism. A crackdown against the TTI must also be carried out for many of its commanders are responsible for the brutal murder of Shias in Kurram Agency. Pakistan should not tolerate sectarianism, which has been going on for far too long. All sects and religious minorities need to be protected by the state.

(my editorial in Daily Times)

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