Mast Gul, who escaped after Charar-e-Sharif gunfight in 1995, was seen with TTP militant at a press conference in North Waziristan
Not long after Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) founder Maulana Masood Azhar addressed a rally in Muzaffarabad by telephone, another terrorist, Mast Gul, who escaped after a massive gun battle at Charar-e-Sharif, near Srinagar in 1995, surfaced on Wednesday and was photographed at a press conference in North Waziristan.
While the government has offered the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) another chance of a dialogue, the bombings have not stopped.
Yesterday, Dawn reported from Miramshah that the TTP Peshawar chief Mufti Hasan Swati claimed responsibility for the bombing of a hotel frequented by Shia travelers in Qissa Khawani bazaar in Peshawar.
A photograph with Swati flanked by Haroon Khan alias Mast Gul, the Hizbul Mujahideen commander was also carried. Swati said Mast Gul was the militant commander who was responsible for the Peshawar attacks.
The report said Gul had escaped an ambush near Peshawar in 2003 and his whereabouts were unknown since then. Swati also said the Peshawar attacks were carried out at the behest of TTP second in command Sheikh Khalid Haqqani, even as the TTP has denied that it had anything to do with the bombings in Peshawar. The suicide bombing of the hotel was to avenge the death of madrassa students in Rawalpindi during Moharram, it was stated.
Earlier on January 26, 2014, JeM addressed a huge rally and its founder Maulana Masood Azhar spoke over the telephone. News reports said the rally was held to launch a book by Azfal Guru who was convicted and hung in 2013 for his role in the 2001 attack on the Indian Parliament.
Maulana Azhar was one of the militants freed by India in exchange for the release of passengers and crew of the hijacked Indian Airlines plane which was taken to Kandahar. He formed the JeM in 2000, after
he returned to Pakistan. JeM was banned along with the Lashkar-e-Toiba and others by former president General (retd) Pervez Musharraf.
Among other things, Azhar vowed revenge for the execution of Afzal Guru in his speech. United Jihad Council head Syed Salahuddin and Azhar's younger brother Mufti Abdul Rauf Asghar also addressed
the rally. Azhar was never in custody and continued his activities as a militant, news reports said.