Peshawar, June 16 (ANI): Last week, when Pak Air Force decided to strike Makeen - a key trade centre of Mehsud tribe in South Waziristan - it was the result of a two-month long brainstorming in the military establishment on how to isolate Baitullah Mehsud within the Taliban.
The offensive was virtually carried out to avenge the suicide bombing in Lahore that killed religious scholar Dr Sarfaraz Naeemi.He has a hand in virtually every terrorist attack in Pakistan," Pakistan Army Chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani said recently.
"We wanted to deliver a message to Baitullah. If he carries out a suicide bombing, then there will be a response and that he can't get away with these attacks. There will be a quid pro quo," The Dawn quoted a senior military officer, as saying.
However, one major factor would be an anti-Baitullah Mehsud alliance between Turkistan - a 40-year-old veteran of the Afghan war, and Qari Zainuddin, a young lad in his mid-twenties leading a group once commanded by the late Abdullah Mehsud.
"The environment that made Baitulllah is no more. For the first time he has a challenger from within his Mehsud clan. Baitullah Mehsud is in trouble," a senior government official said.
Baitullah told a jirga member recently he was not too much worried about military action against him. It's Zainuddin who has caused him anxiety," a Mehsud tribesman concurred.
Like Baitullah, Zainuddin is a native Mehsud and has been leading his own militant group once led by Abdullah Mehsud - a one-legged fiery fighter and former Guantanamo detainee, who was killed in a commando action in Zhob, Balochistan, in July 2006.
Zainuddin and Abdullah's other comrades blamed Baitullah for orchestrating the death.
Turkistan, who had retired as a sepoy from South Waziristan Scouts of the paramilitary Frontier Corps in 1998 to fight for the Taliban in Afghanistan, was once friends with Baitullah Mehsud, the paper points out.
"We fought together in Afghanistan," he once said.
The slaughter of some FC jawans and Baitullah's other actions, he claimed, made him leave the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan chief.
"Don't poke your nose in this," he quoted Baitullah as telling him. (ANI)