Hakeemullah Mehsud named new Pak Taliban chief

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Islamabad, Aug.22 (ANI): The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has declared Hakeemullah Mehsud as the successor to Baitullah Mehsud.

TTP spokesman Maulvi Faqir Muhammad announced Hakeemullah's appointment while claiming that Baitullah was alive, the News reports.

Muhammad said Baitullah wanted to appoint his successor in his lifespan, so he has asked Hakeemullah to take over.

Muhammad said a 42-member council of the Taliban appointed Hakeemullah their chief and Azam Tariq as the new spokesman of the banned outfit.

Days ago, Muhammad had claimed that he had taken charge of the TTP, rejecting reports about Baitullah Mehsud's death.

Muhammad claimed that Taliban elders had held a meeting recently in which it was decided to make him the 'acting' leader of the group.

"I have taken over the leadership of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan. Two days ago our shura held a meeting in which my leadership was endorsed," Muhammad said.

He denied that Mehsud had been killed in a drone attack, but said that the chieftain was ill.

"Baitullah Mehsud is alive, but he is seriously ill. In his absence, I announce, as vice president of the TTP, the takeover of his leadership," Muhammad said.

He also claimed that two other senior Taliban leaders, Hakimullah Mehsud and Waliur Rehman, who have been reportedly fighting for the post, had also endorsed his leadership.

Muhammad had also announced that the Taliban's Swat chapter spokesperson Muslim Khan had been made the Taliban's spokesman, replacing Maulvi Omer, who was arrested recently. (ANI)

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