Does Pakistan realise that TTP has joined hands with the ISIS?
Hardly four months ago, I blogged about whether Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) would be forming an allegiance with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). My assumptions became a reality when Shahidullah Shahid, now a former TTP leader, proclaimed his allegiance along with five other TTP leaders to the ISIS.
At the time that I wrote the piece, I was tremendously lashed out by various people on social media, who probably just read the main heading of the article or simply commented after reading other comments without having their own perspective on the topic at hand.
Apart from the numerous comments that my memory conveniently deleted, for they didn’t matter, I remember one unmistakably. Someone commented on the fact that the writer was creating “propaganda” and “putting in thoughts for more violence”, all while “portraying Pakistan in a negative light”.
I am a patriotic Pakistani, hailing from a family that has its roots embedded in the armed forces, have personally served my nation in the midst of humanitarian crisis on an international scale and projecting the historical beauty of my country. Thus, I don’t think that I was giving a downbeat image of my country. But alas, everyone is entitled to their opinions and I shall respect that.
That being said, let’s talk about what just came up yesterday. Now I would love to write “I told you so,” but then what’s the point? It’s happened. So now what?
Shahid spoke of his decision to join the ISIS in a video message that was posted online. It was also sent out to various media outlets and an Urdu translation of this video message was emailed to various journalists. Taliban leaders from Kuram, Orkzai, Peshawar, Khyber Agency, and Hangu district are a few that have left the TTP and shaken hands with ISIS.
In his video message, Shahid states,
“I declare allegiance to the Caliph of Muslims, Amirul Momineen Abu Bakar al Baghdadi al Qarshi al Hussaini. I will listen and follow his every instruction whatever the situation may have been. This allegiance is neither from the TTP or its chief, Mullah Fazlullah. This is only from me and five leaders.”
He further added in the video that the chief of TTP is in support of the Islamic State but he has still ‘not’ given out his allegiance. He states that his real name is Abu Omar alias Al-Khorasani. As though, his real name even matters in a time like this.
In my humble opinion, I think these six fanatics getting off our backs is superb. But there is a silent alarm bell ringing too. This could well be ISIS propaganda. We are already bombing the living daylights out of these radicals in Zarb-e-Azb, and they know that our forces will shred them to pieces if ever found in person. Thus, the coward video messages.
Moreover, this decision of TTP’s now former leader is a rather grave setback for the Taliban, for it is now merely confined to the Malakand Taliban. Moreover, the dominant Mehsud faction as well as the Taliban Mohmand agency has also left TTP while forming another group called Jamaat-ul-Ahrar. Two Taliban leaders informed The Express Tribune, that Mullah Fazlullah, the TTP leader has been continuously trying to resolve these elements that are tearing up his mad gang, but his efforts have been in vain.
Not that I am looking forward to getting a call, an email or any sort of correspondence from the TTP to clear a certain few questions, but I’d like to know what happened to the allegiance that was being spoken of with “Ameer-ul-Momineen (Mullah Omar)”? Is someone out there getting fresh dollars from this allegiance? Or are the TTP members looking for greener pastures as Mullah Omar maybe running out of fuel/oil?
Subsequently, this is a time to ponder over this situation for sure. While it may only ‘seem’ that it’s great that the TTP is breaking up and moving on, perhaps leaving us Pakistanis in peace, it could signify a crucial moment for Pakistan in its fight against terrorism. One that mustn’t be ignored, as knowing the track record of these barbarians and them teaming up with ISIS of all the groups in the world, could have ugly consequences.
Maybe their resources have dried up and hence they are forming an alliance with ISIS, but to think that it is being done so to carry on with their atrocious barbarianism not just in Pakistan but elsewhere too is disturbing. So again I ask, is it time to think about this issue or can we afford to let it slide… yet again?
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.