The Taliban rejected Pakistan Interior Minister Rehman Malik's claim that they had killed commander Baitullah Mehsud's father-in-law and his kin on charges of espionage, while acknowledging they were in the militants' custody.
Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan deputy chief Maulvi Faqir Muhammad said Mehsud's father-in-law Malik Ikramuddin and three of his relatives were in the custody of the militants but they had not been killed.
He told BBC Urdu that Ikramuddin and the others had been detained but not on "espionage charges". But he did not clarify the reason why the militants had detained them. Muhammad also said that Hakimullah Mehsud has been appointed the new chief of the Tehrik-e-Taliban and reports about the election of Wali-ur-Rehman as the new leader are not correct. He again said that Mehsud is alive but sick.
Interior Minister Malik had claimed yesterday that the Taliban had killed Ikramuddin, his son and two others. Pakistani and American officials have said they are certain that Mehsud was killed with his second wife and several guards in the drone attack on August 5.