ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – “Tehrik Taliban Pakistan (TTP) is facing internal rifts and leadership crises. Cracks have appeared in its leadership as well as among its various sub-groups. It looks that TTP is facing its worst administrative as well as financial crises and is badly suffering from internal splits and disharmonies,” sources in South and North Waziristan claim to Dispatch News Desk (DND).
Meanwhile, sources in Islamabad also confirm that all is not well in the rank and file of TTP, and federal government, as well as law enforcing agencies, are clueless with whom peace negotiations should be initiated as demanded by the All Parties Conference (APC) held by Jamiat Ulema Islam.
According to highly-placed sources, Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) and Jamiat Ulema Islam (JUI) along with Jamaat-i-Islami are compelling establishment for talks with TTP, but they themselves have failed to give a lead to government with whom dialogue for peace or negotiations should be started, as Mualana Fazulur Rehman himself disowned Ahsan Ullah Ahasan as spokesman of TTP while reality is clear that he is the only TTP spokesman so far on record. Amir Jamaat-i-Islami Munawar Hassan does not recognize Hakeemullah Mehsud as true leader of Taliban. In this thick fog of ambiguity, religious parties interested in negotiations with Taliban have failed to get any response from Afghan Taliban also because Afghan Taliban are tight lipped over the issue of real leadership of Taliban in Pakistan. This also indicates that Taliban leadership in Pakistan has some serious crises within its ranks and TTP has offered for “peace talks” when it is crumbling administratively and now it is no more a “monolithic” outfit.
The recent news about Hakeemullah Mehsud’s illness and TTP’s operational control by Wali-ur-Rehman has more to offer than a mere health issue and complicates the situation further because local former leaders of Taliban are of the view that change of command on the pretext of health issue is actually the revival of power struggle and bitterness over TTP’s leadership emerged after Beitullah Mehsud’s death on August 5, 2009.
“Wali-ur-Rehman; who has worked hard to alienate his own leader, has finally turned Hakimullah Mehsud an ineffectual figure. It is not only Hakeemullah’s feeble health that worries his sharply diminishing followership but also his weakened position in the TTP,” claim experts working on terrorism and Taliban. Some former Taliban leaders of Swat claim that Hakimullah’s short temper, reckless policies, and penchant for bitter violence gradually allowed Wali-ur-Rehman to pin him down. A source privy to their way of working said that their disputes could be a consequence of difference on distribution of money, influence in different areas, and disagreement on violent attacks in Pakistan. Tempers and tension has much risen among the two camps. In such a scenario, their internal conflicts are likely to dominate than pursuing a uniformed policy towards peace and dialogue.
Mullah Nazir’s death on January 2, 2013 in a drone strike has also caused a succession rift in his group. Although Salahuddin Ayubi, Nazir’s close relative and aid, has assumed the leadership of Mullah Nazir’s Group, other strong leadership candidates are challenging the decision. Similarly, TTP’s Darra Adamkhel Chapter (Geedar Group) is suffering a bitter row over succession of Tariq Afridi. Tariq died in February 2013 due to severe wounds suffered in a family clash. Tariq’s successor, Muhammad Arif alias Kaka, is facing many challengers to his command and sole monopoly over money matters. The group has a reputation of involvement in kidnapping and ransom cases. The succession disputes and violent power struggle in TTP are likely to intensify with more simmering dissension among the banned outfits.