Pak Army, Govt, at loggerheads over fate of Swat Taliban chief Fazlullah
Islamabad, June 23 (ANI): There seems to be an apparent lack of communication between the Pakistan government and the military, when it comes to determining the current status of Swat Taliban chief Mullah Fazalullah.
While Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani's Advisor on Interior Affairs, Rehman Malik has claimed that security forces have 'encircled' Fazalullah, the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) said that it cannot 'confirm' reports about the status of the Taliban commander yet.
Talking to media persons here, Malik said troops have spotted Fazalullah's hideout, and have blocked all his escape routes.
"By and large we know the location where he is hiding. Nothing confirmed can be said at this stage without seeing his (Fazalullah's) dead body," Malik said.
Malik said there are also reports that Fazalullah might also have been injured during the operation, which has intensified in the last few days, but military authorities did not confirm Malik's claims.
He said there were more extremist leaders hiding in the region, and said that all such militant commanders would be eliminated soon.
"The question is that it is not one Fazalullah there are many Fazalullahs which have to be eliminated," The Dawn quoted Malik, as saying.
Malik also claimed that the Tehreek-e-Taliban (TTP) chief Baitullah Mehsud was still present in the tribal areas of the country, refuting reports that he had fled to Afghanistan.
"We have information that where he is and we will not give him any chance to escape," he said.
However, the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director General, Major General Athar Abbas said that there are no confirmed reports about Fazalullah.
With numerous confronting remarks doing rounds regarding the whereabouts of Fazalullah, it raises questions over whether the troops have actually had any access to the Swat Taliban commander or not.
It may be noted that similarly, news about Fazalullah's death was splashed across the media earlier, but on that occasion too neither the government nor the military had confirmed the reports. (ANI)