ISLAMABAD, Feb 24 — Pakistan Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan Monday invited the Pakistani Taliban to play cricket, adding members of the militant group were avid viewers of cricket matches.
Khan told reporters while attending an event that the approach of militants playing cricket would bear positive results, reported Dawn online.
The Taliban have said that they were keeping abreast of current events in the world of cricket when they discussed Indian legend Sachin Tendulkar and Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq in a video posted on the internet.
On Thursday, the minister had reiterated the government’s stance that bloodshed and dialogue with the Pakistani Taliban could not go together.
Meanwhile a key member of the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Asmatullah Shaheen Bhittani, was killed Monday when gunmen opened fire on his vehicle in Pakistan’s North Waziristan tribal region.
The incident that also killed three others from Bhittani’s group, took place near Darga Mandi area of Ghulam Khan town in the tribal region, Dawn online reported citing its sources.
The TTP has so far not confirmed Bhittani’s death.
Bhittani served as the acting TTP chief after Hakeemullah Mehsud’s death and also headed the Taliban supreme shura.
He hails from the Khichi sub-tribe in Waziristan and was known for his ruthless predisposition towards those taken as prisoners by the TTP.
In Dec 2011, Bhittani’s group overran the military bastion, killed an officer and kidnapped 23 other soldiers. Their mutilated bodies with 40 bullet holes each and signs of torture were later recovered from North Waziristan region.
North Waziristan is one of seven regions in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Area governed by tribal laws.