A key figure in the Pakistani Taliban has been arrested, a development that is being seen as yet another blow to the militants whose leader Beithullah Mehsud is said to have been killed in a U.S. missile strike two weeks ago.
Maulvi Omar was a spokesman for Beithullah Mehsud and had called media outlets earlier this month to deny that the leader of the Tehreek-e-Taliban was dead.
He is reported to have been captured by pro-government tribals in the Mohamand agency as he was travelling to South Waziristan on Monday night, and handed over to government security forces.
Maulvi Omar was a close aide to Beithullah Mehsud. But only days before Mehsud’s reported killing, the TTP announced the appointment of a new spokesman fuelling rumours that Maulvi Omar had fallen out with the leadership.
Maulvi Omar’s arrest came hours after another TTP militant, identified as Qari Saifullah, was taken into custody from a house in suburban Islamabad.
According to media reports, Saifullah had travelled to the capital for treatment of severe injuries possibly sustained during a missile strike in Waziristan or Afghanistan.
Saifullah is said to have arranged funds, explosives and weapons for the TTP. He was arrested with another wanted terror suspect, Zaid Akram, who is reported to have brought him to the capital.