KHAR, March 5: Militant leaders in Bajaur Agency have reacted strongly to the removal of their chief from the post of deputy Amir of the banned Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan and threatened to form their own group.

Four top militants loyal to Maulvi Faqir Mohammad called local reporters and said they rejected as one-sided TTP's decision to remove their leader from the deputy leader's post.

Maulana Abdul Mutalib, Fazal Khan, Maulvi Abdullah and Liaqat Khan said the decision of TTP's central shura was untimely and would sow discord among the militants.

“The decision of the shura has disappointed Bajauri Taliban,” one of them said.

Their reaction came a day after TTP's central spokesman Ihsanullah Ihsan announced that the shura had removed Faqir Mohammad from the post.

He did not say anything about reasons for the action taken against the man who held the position since the birth of the TTP -- an umbrella group of Pakistani militant outfits -- in December 2007.

But there have been speculations about a rift between Faqir Mohammad and the TTP chief Hakimullah Mehsud over the former's overtures for peace with the government.

Faqir Mohammad was publicly criticised by one of his own 'commanders' who said he was speaking for himself and not for the TTP.

The TTP, however, has not yet announced a replacement for Faqir Mohammad and said that an announcement would be made later.

A TTP spokesman said he might be given another responsibility but he would have to work just as an ordinary fighter.

An Afghan Taliban group led by Sirajuddin Haqqani has in the past mediated between Pakistani groups to unify them and encourage them to focus their attention on the larger fight in Afghanistan.

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