PESHAWAR: The Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has announced the sacking of Shahidullah Shahid and said that he was being replaced by another spokesman.
The TTP statement, posted on its Omar Media site, said that Shahidullah Shahid was the nom de guerre for the TTP spokesman and the group had allowed Abu Omar Sheikh Maqbool to use it. However, it added, that Sheikh Maqbool continued to use the pseudonym despite his removal from the position.
It said that Sheikh Maqbool was removed and another “brother” was named to replace him, but since the decision was not made public, the former TTP spokesman took advantage of the situation. “Sheikh Maqbool is not Shahidullah Shahid,” it said. It is a nom de guerre of the TTP spokesman, it added in its Urdu, Pashto and Arabic statement.
The statement reiterated TTP leader Mulla Fazlullah’s oath of allegiance to the Afghan Taliban leader, Mullah Mohammad Omar, and added that the name of the new TTP spokesman would be made public in due course.
Sheikh Maqbool had pledged his oath of allegiance to the Islamic State (IS) and its leader Abu Omar Al Baghdadi along with five other Pakistani militant commanders, indicating a further split in the already fractured militant organisation.
Insiders said that Sheikh Maqbool and his five associates had already made up their mind to quit the TTP after pledging allegiance to IS, but were waiting for the right time to make an announcement.
There was no immediate reaction from the former TTP spokesman, who had fled the group’s former stronghold in Miramshah, North Waziristan, following the launch of Zarb-i-Azb in mid June. He was last reported to have shifted to Shawal valley, but some reports said he might have shifted to his native Orakzai tribal region already.
Published in Dawn, October 21st , 2014