PESHAWAR: The shura or council of the Pakistani Taliban, headed by Maulana Fazlullah, on Tuesday unanimously decided to target the journalists and media organisations which carried, what they termed “fabricated” statement of their spokesman Shahidullah Shahid regarding Indian cricketer Sachin Tendulkar and Pakistani cricket team captain Misbahul Haq.
It was the second shura meeting of the Taliban in which they developed consensus about showing reaction to recent statement of Shahidullah Shahid in the media.In an earlier shura meeting held on last Friday, the militant leadership could not make a unanimous decision about targeting the media people, though most of the shura members have condemned media attitude towards them.
“In Tuesday’s meeting, we decided to target only journalists and media organisations which twisted recent statement of Shahidullah Shahid and tried to tarnish Taliban’s image nationally and internationally. The task has been given to a select group of people within the Taliban to collect information about the journalists and media organisations who fabricated statement of the spokesman,” said a senior Taliban leader and member of the shura.
Pleading anonymity, he said the journalists by ‘allegedly’ running, what they called ‘untrue’ statement of the spokesman had hurt and enraged the entire Taliban leadership and invited their wrath.
He said the previous shura meeting was convened in emergency to seek its permission for announcing a war against media people.During the shura meeting, he said, it was realised that there were some independent, professional and responsible journalists in the country, therefore, he added, they decided that all the journalists should not be punished for the wrongdoing of other journalists.
He said some people in the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) were already not happy with the journalists and their work, but the way the media treated Shahidullah’s statement regarding the two cricket players, it made most of the people upset.
The Taliban did not mention names of the journalists and media organisations they decided to target for running what they called ‘untrue’ statement of the TTP spokesman. “Those who did this dirty job know themselves,” he said.
He said the journalists who intentionally misquoted the Taliban spokesman about an issue he did not talk about would face the consequences.The TTP shura member said the shura was supposed to meet on Monday to make a strategy about the journalists but their meeting could not take place due to some reasons.
He said the TTP spokesman Shahidullah Shahid had not issued any statement in particular with the two cricket players, which, he complained, the media highlighted in a way to presume that the Taliban spokesman threatened media not to praise Indian cricket player Tendulkar or that he preferred Pakistani player Misbahul Haq over him.
He said the spokesman during an interview had discussed the two players in a different context but the journalists claimed that he threatened media people and stopped them from praising Tendulkar.
Meanwhile, Taliban sources said that Maulana Fazlullah on Tuesday removed senior Taliban commander Asmatullah Shaheen Bhittani from the status of ameer of the TTP central shura.In his place, Maulana Fazlullah appointed Sheikh Khalid Haqqani as the new ameer of TTP central shura.
Commander Asmatullah Shaheen Bhittani, who belongs to FR Jandola, the gateway of South Waziristan, was working as ameer of the TTP central shura when Hakimullah Mehsud was killed in a US drone attack in Miranshah in North Waziristan on November 1, 2013.
The TTP shura later on November 7 appointed Maulana Fazlullah as central ameer of the Pakistani Taliban and Sheikh Khalid Haqqani as his deputy leader. Sheikh Khalid Haqqani is a cleric and belongs to Swabi district.