Mehsud's death will be confirmed after receiving 'solid evidence': Malik

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Islamabad, Aug.11 (ANI): Pakistan has still not confirmed the death of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) chief Baitullah Mehsud, as it lacks credible evidence.

Interior Advisor Rehman Malik said news about Mehsud's death would be confirmed by the government once it gets 'solid evidence' in this regard.

"We have reports that he was dead, but we'll wait for the evidences from the area before confirming the news," The Nation quoted Malik, as saying.

Interacting with media persons here, Malik challenged Mehsud's close aide Hakimullah Mehsud to release the videotape featuring the TTP chief if he is alive, as per his (Hakimullah's) claims.

Earlier, the Government's claims about the killing of the top Taliban leadership were laid bare when Hakimullah, who was declared dead in an intra-group clash, himself told the media he was alive.

"Look, I am here, safe and sound," Hakimullah, 30, said in a telephone call to journalists from an undisclosed location.

He reiterated that Baitullah Mehsud was alive and a videotape featuring him would be delivered to the media soon.

"Amir sahib (Baitullah) is alive. He is healthy and he will come before the media soon. There is no succession. There is no shura (meeting)," he said.

"Let the Interior Minister (Rehman Malik) prove he is dead. If the Interior Minister fails to prove Baitullah Mahsud's death, then I will produce evidence that he is alive," he challenged.

Hakimullah said the Taliban will issue a message in next three to four days to prove that Baitullah Mahsud is alive.

It may be recalled that on Saturday, Malik had said that Pakistan's enemy no. 1 had died in a US missile strike on Wednesday, while his close aide Hakimullah Mehsud was killed in a shootout that broke out on Friday between him and Waliur Rahman, another Taliban commander.

"The day before yesterday, there was credible information coming from inside the area that Baitullah Mehsud had been killed. This credible information had come right from sources based in South Waziristan, and particularly in Ladha," he said. (ANI)

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