In what was believed to be a planned attack on the hideouts of Pakistan’s most dreaded Pro-Al-Qaida and Taliban leader, a US Drone killed Baitullah Mehsud along with his brother, second wife and four bodyguards in Waziristan Province.
Confirming the news, Rehman Malik, Pakistan Interior Minister, said it was confirmed that Baitullah Mehsud was dead. This was also confirmed by other news channels in the region along with a reputed commentator of the “Dawn” newspaper in Pakistan.
The US government had set a reward of $5 Million on Baitullah’s head, who was more feared than Osama bin laden. He was responsible for a number of suicide attack on Pakistan including one on a Police Academy recently. He was also believed to have planned similar attacks in New York and London. His killing had averted an impending catestrophe in these cities.
Baitullah Mehsud, was the leader of the Pakistani Taliban group and was an ‘Al-Qaida’ facilitator. There were 10,000 to 20,000 fighters under his command carrying out guerrilla type attacks on the borders of Afghanistan against US interests. He was also believed to have been involved in the killing of Benazir Bhutto.
While there was jubilation in the Pak army over his killing and a shot in their arm, it was a big blow to the designs of the Taliban in Pakistan. Though there is no dearth of leadership in that group and soon his successor will be named. Whether his successor, will be as dangerous and tactful as Mehsud was, will be watched with interest. The Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik told the media that the offensive against the Mehsud’s men and Taliban would be continued until the last man in the group is killed. So there would be no let off in the pursuit and fighting.
Many military and political commentators have opined that the killing of Mehsud was not the end of the road for the Taliban, as new leadership would emerge, causing more problems to Pakistan. It was therefore imperative, that they are pursued until the end so that they do not regroup and make attacks to disrupt normal life. They also suggested that the offensive carried out by the Pak army against the Taliban in Swat Valley, may be extended to other parts of Waziristan province where these Taliban are very active.
It is in the interest of Pakistan that they continue the offensive as a definite backlash from the Mehsud army is expected within hours or a day. They may target high dignitaries in Pakistan including its President and Prime Minister, and especially Interior Minister Rehman Malik. It is believed that Mehsud’s armed group have trained and sneaked inside Pak cities, a number of suicide bombers to strike at the appropriate time. Pak authorities should be on high alert and conduct house to house searches in important cities like Karachi, Lahore, Faisalabad, Rawalpindi and Islamabad to unearth Mehsud sleeper cells. Catch them before they become a menace.
Although the killing of Mehsud was a big welcome, it is fraught with more dangerous consequences. It is possible that Mehsud’s successor may adopt a more stringent stand and unleash a reign of terror. The Pakistani army should, therefore, be on high alert to see that it has no spinning effect on India. Jai Hind.