ISLAMABAD - The US drone attack on May 29 that killed TTP’s second in command Waliur Rehman among others, besides causing serious political reaction in the country, has dampened prospects of Secretary of State John Kerry’s tentative visit to Pakistan this month.

“There is no date decided yet,” said US Embassy spokesperson Rain Harris in response to a query by this scribe, adding that the Secretary of State had expressed his desire to visit Pakistan soon.

She declined to comment on reported diplomatic engagement between Washington and Islamabad in finalising the mutually convenient schedule of the visit of John Kerry. “You better check such development with your Ministry of Foreign Affairs,” Harris added.

On the other hand, sources in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs were also clueless about any schedule of visit of the Secretary of State mutually being worked out by Washington and Islamabad. Some sources, however, believed that work on scheduling John Kerry’s visit to Pakistan would start soon after the appointment of new foreign minister.

The May 11 drone attack in North Waziristan Agency considered to be the headquarter of the banned TTP and killing of its deputy commander caused serious political reaction in Pakistan after John Kerry in a statement defending use of drones at a time when the incoming political leadership was considering the pros and corns of peace overtures offered by the TTP leadership.

As an immediate consequence of the killing of Waliur Rehman the TTP withdrew its peace talks offer to the incoming government of PML-N; thus pouring ice on plans to engage and secure a lasting ceasefire with Pakistani Taliban.

The newly formed PTI-led coalition government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa added to more anti-US sentiments in the Islamic Republic when its Chief Minister said his party would have shot down the US drone if it had a government at the Centre.

PTI Chairman Imran Khan added more fuel to fire when he urged the incoming Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to take the US drone attacks in Pakistan as topmost national issue. Realising political repercussions of the issue, Nawaz had to make a brief policy statement that the US drone attacks were illegal.

Many in PML-N even regard the May 11 US drone attack as a US bid to sabotage Pakistan’s efforts to engage Taliban in the larger interest of peace and stability in the country.

About the appointment of new foreign minister, sources in the PML-N maintained that process of selecting an appropriate person to head the foreign ministry was still under way and the Prime Minister in waiting Nawaz Sharif was very diligently looking into the matter before taking a final decision. Some sources also pointed out that the PML-N leadership was also actively considering the veteran Pakistani diplomat and former ambassador to the US Tariq Fatmi for appointment as advisor to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs.

INP adds: US State Department says TTP second in command Waliur Rehman may have been killed in a US drone attack on a tip off provided by an individual but US would not tell the name of that informer.

The US is also providing a head money of $5 million to the informer.

According to foreign media reports, there is a split in the TTP, the two groups one of Hakeemullah Mehsud and second of Waliur Rehamn Mehsud are standing on opposite sides and this split is to gain hegemony in the organization.

The informer on whose tip Waliur Rehman has been killed was from Hakeemullah Mehsud group. The spilit has not ended with the killing of Waliur Rehman. The man who has replaced Waliur Rehman is known by name Khan Saeed alias Sajna. He hails from Mehsud tribe of Shobikhel and is again from Waliur Rehman group who opposes Hakimullah. Waliur Rehman due to ailment of Hakimullah was virtually commanding the TTP and had a leaning for peace talks.

Hakimullah is hardcore terrorists who believes in bloodshed.