Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) named an interim leader Sunday after the death of Hakimullah Mehsud in a drone strike, as the government mulled its next move after slamming the US for killing the militant chief.
Islamabad has said it will review “every aspect” of relations with Washington in the wake of the attack that killed Mehsud on Friday and which the interior minister described as the “murder of peace”.
Representatives of the government had been due to meet TTP with a view to initiating peace talks when Mehsud was killed in the North Waziristan tribal area near the Afghan border.
Shahidullah Shahid, the main TTP spokesman, said a permanent replacement had not yet been chosen.
“Asmatullah Shaheen Bhittani, the head of the supreme shura, has been appointed as temporary head of the TTP,” Shahid told AFP, adding that prayers for Mehsud were still going on.
Bhittani, the head of the central shura who was close to Mehsud, has been touted as a potential permanent replacement, as has the movement’s number two Khan Said, alias Sajna.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is expected to chair a meeting of his top security advisers on Monday to discuss the next steps.
Opposition parties led by Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) party have demanded the government close Pakistan’s roads to convoys supplying NATO forces in Afghanistan.
PTI has said it will block NATO convoys in the northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa where it is in power, which would cut off one of the main crossing points into Afghanistan.