LAHORE - Khan Said Sajna Mehsud is likely to become the undisputed head of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), South Waziristan Agency chapter, in the changing scenario of SWA and his (Sajna’s) sway over his rival Shehryar Mehsud, The Nation has learnt.

Tribesmen close to the TTP leaders in SWA told this correspondent on Tuesday that the results of the first fierce infighting among the TTP ranks would compel TTP Chief Maulvi Fazlullah to take some unpleasant decisions of which the most important would be nominating Khan Said Sajna Mehsud as the undisputed head of South Waziristan TTP.

Though Sajna openly challenged the leadership of Fazlullah the day he was elected by TTP shura as the new chief, bloody clashes in SWA had established the power and influence of Sajna among his opponents in this tribal agency.  The TTP chief who is operating from Afghanistan and was never accepted as the amir by anyone except by Shehyar Mehsud’s group was left with no option except to nominate Khan Said Sajna Mehsud as the head of TTP SWA, who enjoys sway over his opponents in this part of tribal area.

Haji Daud, spokesman for Shehryar Mehsud group, Monday said, “TTP Chief Maulvi Fazlullah should appoint Shehryar the undisputed head of TTP South Waziristan chapter.” He, however, said, “We will accept TTP chief’s decision whether it is in favour of Khan Said Sajna Mehsud or Shehryar Mehsud.” TTP group of Sajna has killed some of senior commanders and foot soldiers of rival Shehryar Mehsud in the fierce fighting in SWA.

The infighting started between the two groups of Mehsud tribe when Maulvi Fazlullah, on becoming new chief of the TTP after the killing of Hakimullah Mehsud in a drone strike, sidelined Khan Said Sajna Mehsud and other TTP members and gave a prominent role to Shehryar Mehsud.  Sajna and his loyalists swallowed the bitter pill at that time, but continued planning to overthrow their rivals out of power when the situation turned in their favour.

The process of talks caused serious dents in the 43-member militia and Sajna group, being pro-peace, exploited the opportunity by hitting hard the anti-peace Shehryar Mehsud group.

Former Fata secretary Brig (r) Mehmood Shah, who is a security expert, said, “TTP is bleeding internally due to internal rifts while majority of Mehsuds do not like Maulvi Fazlullah as the chief of the organisation founded by them (Mehsud tribesmen) and led by their tribe until the death of Hakimullah Mehsud.” He maintained that Fazlullah who was operating from Afghanistan might not come to Fata fearing opposition from within.  Local contacts confirmed release of the pamphlets in the name of Aghan Taliban Chief Mullah Umer, urging the warring TTP groups to halt infighting and forge unity among their ranks. They said there was no doubt that the pamphlet was issued in the name of Taliban’s supreme commander Mullah Umer, adding they failed to understand why the Afghan Taliban spokesman denied the fact.