Pakistani Taliban offer security for Imran Khan’s S Waziristan Rally: Report

Lahore – In a meeting of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) headed by leader Hakimullah Mehsud, the outfit set aside its earlier plans to send suicide bombers to assassinate Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan, during his visit to South Waziristan for a “peace march”, The Telegraph reported Tuesday.

The UK-based daily quoted senior commanders of TTP as saying that the group noted Khan’s vehement opposition to US drone strikes against militants in its territory “as it reversed course to offer security assistance.”

A Taliban spokesperson said, “We are ready to provide them security if they need. We endorse Imran Khan’s plea that drone strikes are against our sovereignty. The anti-drone rallies should have been taken out by the religious leaders long ago but Imran had taken the lead and we would not harm him or his followers.”

During a press conference on Sunday, the PTI chief had claimed that the Mehsud, Burki and Bhittani tribes of Waziristan had assured him of providing security to participants of the rally.

Earlier, the TTP had criticised Khan’s statement in which he had called himself a “liberal”. The Pakistani Taliban contended that by classifying himself as a liberal, Imran Khan had proved that he was a slave of the Western powers — especially the US and Europe. The organisation held that they were not satisfied with his policies.

Some areas of the Mehsud tribe, during the military action against the Taliban in the north-western belt of the country, had become deserted but residents of some of these areas near Tank had returned to their homes during the last two years.

Reportedly, these areas are peaceful now and Khan’s party has chosen one of these areas called Kot Kai for his rally. His party is scheduled to leave Dera Ismail Khan and will head towards Kot Kai on October 7.

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