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The killing of TTP chief Hakeemullah Mehsud in a drone strike has led to a surprisingly unanimous reaction from Pakistan’s

political class: it is all the Americans’ fault. That view was most strongly expressed y !nterior Minister "haudhry #isar Ali $han who found the timing of the attack suspicious and felt it was part of a %& plot to scuttle peace talks with the TTP. #awa' &harif was slightly more circumspect at a ca inet meeting ut maintained his strongly anti(drone stance. The prime minister and chief of army staff were also present to witness a demonstration of how drones can e shot) a move that was certainly meant to send a message to the %&. The *%!(+’s +a'lur ,ehman declared that everyone who is killed y the %& automatically ecomes a martyr while the PT!’s !mran $han has vowed to stop #ato trucks from going through Pakistan after #ovem er -.) even locking roads if necessary. &hould the PM/(# not agree with the PT! 0 highways after all fall under the power of the centre 0 we could end up with the unedifying spectacle of a provincial government taking to the highways to deny the writ of the federal government. ,elations etween Pakistan and the %& have always een rocky ut have plunged to a new low. There is also a danger that the unity witnessed at the AP" will e destroyed as all the political parties try to one(up each other in expressing anger at the %&. The government would e etter off taking a wait(and(see approach. The TTP will e in a state of confusion right now and we need to take advantage of its relative weakness. Asmatullah &haheen 1hittani) the head of the TTP’s supreme shura) has een appointed as the interim leader with $han &aid) etter known as &a2na) the frontrunner to take over the leadership spot. &hehryar Mehsud) who is from the same clan as 1aitullah Mehsud is another likely contender. The TTP may take some time to select a new leader since the group will e wary of meeting together for fear of eing attacked y drones. To that extent) #isar was correct that negotiations have een scuttled since we do not have a leader to negotiate with right now. He was also right in complaining that the %& always dictates and is never ready to listen. The TTP) if it responds as it did when its other leaders were killed) is also likely to launch a wave of revenge attacks. +or the %& these possi ilities did not have to e accounted for when they targeted Hakeemullah since the entirety of the fallout will e orne y Pakistan. The anger we feel at the %& may e 2ustified ut at a time when we are stuck etween the %& on one side and the Tali an on the other anger alone won’t suffice.