Militant group says Maulana Fazlullah is now in Pakistan’s tribal belt.
Maulana Fazlullah, who took over command of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan after the Nov. 1 drone killing of Hakimullah Mehsud, has returned from Afghanistan to lead the terrorist group.
Fazlullah is now “commanding the Taliban movement at an unknown location in the [federally-administered] tribal areas,” said Taliban spokesman Shahidullah Shahid on Tuesday. He rejected media reports claiming that Fazlullah was in one of the Waziristan agencies: “It is not true that Maulana Fazlullah is in Waziristan, he is in the tribal areas but at unknown location.”
Mehsud was killed outside his home in North Waziristan.
Fazlullah, whose brutal two-year regime was ousted by the Pakistan Army in Swat in 2009, had fled to Afghanistan, where he was allegedly being supported by Afghan intelligence. Last year, Fazlullah ordered the killing of education activist Malala Yousafzai. She survived the attack, which also injured two of her schoolmates.
Fazlullah, who has a Rs. 50 million government bounty on his head, has mounted some brutal and humiliating attacks on Pakistan’s military, including the beheading of 17 soldiers after an attack in June 2012.
While Fazlullah has rejected outright any possibility of peace talks with Islamabad, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s government has said it intends to restart the talks process.