PESHAWAR: Key commanders belonging to the outlawed Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) have announced the formation of a new group by the name of TTP Jamatul Ahrar, with Maulana Qasim Khurasani as the new Ameer and also comprising other commanders.
Former TTP spokesperson Ehsanullah Ehsan, who has been nominated as the spokesman for the splinter group, mostly comprising the Mohmand Agency Taliban, told Dawn from an undisclosed location, that the new group was not willing to take sides in the current political tussle in Islamabad as they only wanted the Shariah system to prevail in the country.
According to them, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) chief Dr Tahirul Qadri were no different from the current political rulers, and that both of them were inclined towards the Western style of democracy.
He added that along with Khurasani, the TTP Jamaatul Ihrar Shura also comprises Umer Khalid Khurasani from Mohmand Agency, Qari Shakil Haqqani from Charsadda, Maulana Yasin from Swat, Qari Ismail from Khyber Agency, Maulana Adbullah from Bajaur Agency, Mufti Misbah from Peshawar, Maulana Haider and Mansoor Nazim Shura from Orakzai Agency.
The Pakistan Army launched Operation Zarb-e-Azb in June against foreign and local terrorists who were hiding in sanctuaries in North Waziristan.
The comprehensive operation was launched a week after militants made a brazen insurgent attack on the country's busiest airport in Karachi.
Following the assault in Karachi, the US carried out two drone strikes in North Waziristan.
Prior to the operation being conducted, pressure had been mounting on the government to launch a ground offensive in the Taliban-infested North Waziristan tribal district.
North Waziristan Agency has been isolated by troops along its border with neighbouring agencies and Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) to block any movement of terrorists in and out of the Agency.