KARACHI: The Balochistan government has sent a report to the federal government and law-enforcement agencies about “growing footprint in Pakistan” of the Islamic State (IS) group, also referred to as ‘Daish’.
The confidential report, a copy of which is available with DawnNews, is dated October 31 and says that IS claims to have recruited between 10,000 and 12,000 people from Hangu and Kurram Agency.
“It has been reliably learnt that Daish has offered some elements of Lashkar-i-Jhangvi (LJ) and Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ) to join hands (with it) in Pakistan. Daish has also formed a ten-member Strategic Planning Wing,” the report issued by the provincial government’s Home and Tribal Affairs Department says.
The report says the IS plans to attack military installations and government buildings in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in retaliation for the Zarb-i-Azb military operation in North Waziristan and also plans to target members of the Shia community.
The report calls for better vigilance and improved security measures in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to prevent and pre-empt such attacks.
It has also called for sensitising law-enforcement agencies about the issue and underlined the need for increased monitoring of LJ members.
The warning has come soon after six commanders of the outlawed Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), including its former spokesman Shahidullah Shahid, announced their allegiance to IS.
A security expert, Dr Ejaz Hussain, believes that Pakistan faces a “perceived threat” from IS which can mature into a “real threat” if the group succeeds in aligning it with splinter groups of mainstream militants groups, including the TTP.
“If the Pakistan security apparatus fails to check their footprint, it could be a setback for them in future. It appears that the IS wants to focus on Pakistan and Afghanistan, particularly at a time when US forces have begun to withdraw from Afghanistan. If not checked, IS will pose a major threat to South Asia and the Persian Gulf,” Mr Hussain told Dawn.
Led by Abubakar al-Baghdadi and based in Iraq and Syria, IS has taken over large swathes of territory in the two countries. It is accused of killing thousands of Muslims and some American and British citizens, including journalists and aid workers.
Published in Dawn, November 9th, 2014