All the way from North Waziristan, Hakimullah Mehsud, the chief terrorist of Pakistan, managed to reach near Multan, where he expired after succumbing to the injuries he received in US drone attack, as being claimed by one faction of Pakistani media which cite Taliban as source. Taliban said that they were taking their leader to Karachi for treatment.
Regardless of veracity of this claim, the interesting question which should be asked is how in the world Hakimullah Mehsud was able to reach Multan, which is in the middle of Pakistan, far far away from North Waziristan (almost 800 or so kilometers).
What route Taliban took to take their head honcho? It’s not easy to haul a critically injured person by road stealthily. One safe bet is that they must had changed the appearance of Hakimullah as much as they could. But then what route they pursued?
From North Waziristan, there are only two main roads to rest of Pakistan. One is to go to Peshawar from North Waziristan and then move ahead through motorway or G.T Road, or go to Dera Ismail Khan and travel through Indus Highway.
Reaching Peshawar from NWA is dangerous for Taliban carrying injured leader. More dangerous for them is to go through motorway or G.T Road; both of them littered with patrolling and security check posts and rush traffic. Though it’s faster to reach Multan from Peshawar through Peshawar-Faisalabad motorway, it’s out of question that Taliban would have adopted that path due to massive and innumerable dangers.
There are many shortcuts passing through treacherous mountains of Waziristan which reach to Dera Ismail Khan. There is every reason to believe that Talibs would have taken their leader on foot to either Gambilla (a remote town 60 km from Karak) or straight to D.I. Khan and then by Indus Highway, changing multiple vehicles (possibly loaded trucks with space inside them) they would be traveling towards Karachi.
Locals of area claim that there is literally no checking on Indus Highway. This is the safest route for Taliban for sending suicide bombers or bringing in supplies. Most of the people who get kidnapped from Sindh and Punjab are taken to the tribal areas through this route. Outlaws lurk in the surrounding areas of Karak, Bannu, Tul and Lakki Marwat.
Our security forces have done wonderful job in Swat and South Waziristan, and the elimination of Baitullah Mehsud and Hakimullah Mehsud is an encouraging development along with the current lull in the terrorist attack throughout Pakistan. But the sustainability and reliability will only come when the net around the terrorists is made foolproof. Security forces must focus on the Indus Highway.