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“We welcome the head of Syrian Daish Group Abu Bakkar Al Bagdadi and pay him tributes,” says the graffiti in Urdu language in various parts of Bannu district - Zahir Shah Sherazi/File
“We welcome the head of Syrian Daish Group Abu Bakkar Al Bagdadi and pay him tributes,” says the graffiti in Urdu language in various parts of Bannu district - Zahir Shah Sherazi/File

ISLAMABAD: The foreign office broke its silence on Monday regarding the Islamic State's (IS) activities inside Pakistan, admitting that the radical Islamist group posed a "serious threat" to the country.

Speaking to the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee at Parliament House today, Foreign Secretary Azaz Ahmed Chaudhry acknowledged IS was indeed a real concern, while simultaneously assuring those present that the government would talk all steps necessary to counter the threat.

"Under UN resolutions, Pakistan is firmly against extremist organisations like ISIL [IS] and is taking all actions to counter them", Chaudhry told the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee.

Chaudhry disclosed that after Operation Zarb-e-Azb was launched in North Waziristan, some extremist elements tried to emerge together on the IS platform, but their efforts were countered.

"There is concern in the Gulf and other Muslim countries about ISIL", the foreign secretary noted.

IS arrests, ongoing activity

Leaflets calling for support for IS were seen in parts of Northwest Pakistan, while Pro-IS slogans have appeared on walls in several cities.

This picture shows motorists driving past an empty police check post with graffiti which reads as “ISIS” along a street on the outskirts of Karachi. — Photo by AFP
This picture shows motorists driving past an empty police check post with graffiti which reads as “ISIS” along a street on the outskirts of Karachi. — Photo by AFP

In January this year, security forces had arrested a man they believed was the commander of IS in the country as well as two accomplices involved in recruiting and sending fighters to Syria.

Intelligence sources, who had spoken to Reuters on condition of anonymity, said the man, Yousaf al-Salafi, was arrested in Lahore and confessed during interrogation that he represented IS.

Rifts among the Taliban and disputes about the future of the insurgency have contributed to the rise of IS's popularity but security sources believe there are no operational links yet between IS and South Asia.

Disgruntled former Taliban commanders have formed the so-called Khorasan chapter — an umbrella IS group covering Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and other South Asian countries — in recent months but have not been involved in any fighting. Their leader, Hafiz Saeed Khan Orakzai, a former Pakistani Taliban commander, appeared in a video address this month urging people in the region to join the group.

In Afghanistan, one militant commander said many have turned to IS, or Daish as it is also known, because they are frustrated at the lack of leadership by Mullah Mohammad Omar, the Afghan Taliban chief who has not been seen in public for years.

“Look, we have been fighting for years but we don't have an inch of land in our possession in Afghanistan,” said the senior commander, who spoke from the Afghan province of Kunar.

“On the other hand, Daish, within limited time, captured vast areas in Iraq and Syria and established Sharia. This is what is being discussed all the time in our circles.”

“We have serious doubts about whether he (Omar) is alive at all ... Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is visible and is leading his people,” the commander said, referring to the IS leader.

Elements of TTP on board

Multiple Pakistani Taliban commanders and three lesser cadres from the Afghan Taliban have pledged their support.

In January, an online video was released showing former militants of the Tehreek-i-Taliban (TTP) pledging allegiance to the Islamic State group. The video shows former TTP spokesman Shahidullah Shahid along with dozens of other militants in a wooded area.

The SITE Intelligence Group, a US-based terrorism monitor, said the video was released by the Islamic State group on Twitter and jihadi forums.

Govt in a state of denial about Daesh?

By: Baqir Sajjad Syed

The government apparently remains in a state of denial regarding a massive threat posed by the Middle Eastern terrorist group Daesh (Islamic State), which recently announced its set-up for Pakistan and Afghanistan.

With the group’s leadership for the region going to a Pakistani and ex-TTP men getting a lion’s share in the 12 top positions, it is clear that the IS plans to focus on the country as part of its ‘expansion into Khorasan’ strategy.

Besides the sectarian angle, Daesh appears attractive for young religious militants because of the territory it controls and the financial resources it possesses. Weakening of the TTP because of desertions and military action has also provided a conducive environment for the IS to establish a base here.

Security analyst Zahid Hussain sees the naming of the group’s hierarchy here as a sign of its emergence.

Amir Rana, who heads the Pakistan Institute for Peace Studies (Pips), an Islamabad-based think tank specialising in security issues, said the move to accept allegiance of militants from here was a “strategic decision” by Daesh after which all factions would have to join hands and pool resources.

The formation of a formal structure, he said, needed to be taken as a serious threat.

Both Mr Hussain and Mr Rana said the terrorist group Jundullah’s acceptance of responsibility of the bomb attack in an Imambargah at Shikarpur underscored the seriousness of the threat.

Jundullah was one of the first groups in the country to have pledged allegiance to the IS chief.

Besides the fears of the sectarian front heating up once Daesh launches its activities here, analysts are worried that a turf war between it, Taliban and Al Qaeda would also begin.


Comments (74) Closed



Shamain Feb 23, 2015 05:15pm

Isis is a serious threat to any country and lets be real usa never made it to eliminate it. They will try to bring isis to pak as well. Secondly,why usa only kills isis in iraq not in syria?

Cyrus Ho Feb 23, 2015 05:15pm

They want to turn Pakistan into Afghanistan IS may be just the brand Pakistan's discontents and nihilists need to try a take over, we can blame the US for ISIS in Iraq, but not the discontent from one end of the Muslim world to the other. The postmortem will be that either Islam failed or leadership failed. This will become Islam's Napoleonic Wars, The struggle between scientific reason and the religious superstitions of the Roman Church.

Salmanj Feb 23, 2015 05:17pm

"...Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is visible and is leading his people,"

Actally, Abu Bakr is NOT visible, and is probably not leading either.

zak Feb 23, 2015 05:20pm

Only threat was India now no more as Pakistan has better defence preparedness than any country in South Asia.

usman Feb 23, 2015 05:24pm

someone tell that to the countrys interior minister ch nisar Aka Bean

rabz Feb 23, 2015 05:25pm

Exterminate them right now before they spread!

vinay singh Feb 23, 2015 05:25pm

pakistan establishment must take immediate action to quell befor they get organized .it's a big concern for the indian subcontinent .....vinay from varanasi, india

Cyrus Ho Feb 23, 2015 05:26pm

"... the government would talk all the necessary steps to counter the threat."

Looks like a Freudian slip to me. Even the copyreader didn't catch that one.

Saad Feb 23, 2015 05:26pm

In a country where getting access to radical elements is easier than access to clean drinking water, of course IS is a big and serious threat. Government should come out it's shell and start planning how to stop IS. We do not want IS, not do we welcome them. Any IS elements in Pakistan should take their caliphate to elsewhere, possibly Saudia. We are good. Thanks

AHA Feb 23, 2015 05:35pm

Since early 1980's, Pakistan has promoted intolerance and hate in the name of Islam. So why this 'shock' if we now want to become ISIS?

citizen Feb 23, 2015 05:40pm

Pakistan needs more financial aid from US, cheap arms from China to stop these bad terrorists !!!! Rite ???

Pady Feb 23, 2015 05:45pm

ISIS Flags even spotted in Kashmir too....Really it will pose greater threat to both the countries.

Lalat Feb 23, 2015 05:45pm

How confusing! Only a few days back there was a news item in this paper that authorities claimed ISIS is not a potential danger to Pakistan.

malik Feb 23, 2015 05:46pm

Wht about Jamia Hifsa video

muhammad Feb 23, 2015 05:47pm

These thugs are gathering under one banner i.e. IS (Daish) we should send them to Syria so that International forces exterminate them once and for all

Babay Feb 23, 2015 05:47pm

The terrorist group is operating since more than year in the areas of their approach but our high ups were in sound sleep and repeatedly ignoring them with negligence.

Chanakya Feb 23, 2015 05:49pm

Pakistan is an Islamic State, " The Islamic republic Of Pakistan." yes the rulers will be replaced

M. Siddique Feb 23, 2015 05:54pm

Time for all the intelligence agencies in the country to coordinate their activities and nip this evil in the bud. Even if we have to share ISIS' activities with Indian agency it should be done. Afghan intelligence has already stated to cooperate. Just remember this group is no one's friend including Muslims who do not share their vision and that is most of us. We need to make sure they don't have a foothold in South Asia.

aamir Feb 23, 2015 06:11pm

Stop them before they consolidate their power. This is the time

Wandering Around Feb 23, 2015 06:13pm

So now you are acknowledging that they are here? What about the prior statements of the interior minister? Were they all simple ignorance? Who are we supposed to trust?

farhad Feb 23, 2015 06:23pm

so what about all those statements earlier issued by INTERIOR MINISTER H.E. CH NISSAR ... and later on same kind of statements were issued by FO as well and though our PM as usual lied to all and issued similar statement about non existence of ISIS followers in Pak ?

now what prompted you to say this FO ? or Sartaj Aziz just got out of dementia ?

Ali Feb 23, 2015 06:34pm

@shamain US is the culprit behind the emergence of ISIS in the first place so how can they eliminate their own creation?

faizan Feb 23, 2015 06:38pm

one of the major reasons for isis ascent has been the land and air routes provided by the neighbouring states like turkey and saudi arabia! pakistan has iran on its wester border, arch enemy of daesh! so i doubt

Ajaya K Dutt Feb 23, 2015 06:39pm

Few days ago there was an article in DAWN that these threats to India's North East are only imaginary.

Islamist can be threat to Pakistan only.

Azmeen Feb 23, 2015 06:39pm

Nip this evil in the bud.

srd Feb 23, 2015 06:41pm

well you have created Islamic Republic of Pakistan for this purpose I guess... So enjoy

saeeds Feb 23, 2015 06:43pm

ISIS requirement practice Muslim ,hate for democratic system and Government and no respect for other opinion. I think majority of Pakistani already following ISIS ideology.

Ahmed Saeed Feb 23, 2015 06:48pm

Maulana Aziz of Lal Mosque in a recent video was seen confirming allegiance. Where is the writ of the state.

kanchi Feb 23, 2015 07:04pm

Speaking to the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee at Parliament House today, Foreign Secretary Azaz Ahmed Chaudhry acknowledged IS was indeed a real concern, while simultaneously assuring those present that the government would talk all steps necessary to counter the threat

The foreign secretary inadvertently has spoken the truth. The Government will talk all steps

kapil Feb 23, 2015 07:20pm

When common people lose their trust in authorities like courts,,police,politican, etc this kind of mind set develops and appriciated so its much expected in pakistan.

kapil Feb 23, 2015 07:22pm

People probably looking for an alternative because of failure of judical system.

kapil Feb 23, 2015 07:28pm

Sence of deprivation causes such state of mind,their will be no room for such mentality if justice will be availiable at the masses door step.

salma Feb 23, 2015 07:30pm

And the man whose madrassa' s students have invited IS is considered innocent after he has " apologized" in front of our honourable interior minister. So is this the strategy of our government to tackle IS problem????

Keti Zilgish Feb 23, 2015 07:32pm

This seems as if part of the security establishment is trying to wake up.

Nasser Feb 23, 2015 07:41pm

Is the government thinking of doing a deal or having talks with ISIS? This is not acceptable to the people of Pakistan, and not to the armed forces either. Pakistan will be completely destroyed, God forbid with hundreds of thousands of lives lost within a nation of 190 million plus; in addition to the destruction to families, homes, businesses, agriculture, and infrastructure. We all have ti GHT ISIS head-on; we do not have choice. It is a do-or-die situation.

Sadiq Ali Bohra Feb 23, 2015 07:42pm

The government is waiting until they (God forbit) do some big damage. only then they will (just) acknowledge that ".... oh yeah! ISIS is a threat"

Think Different Feb 23, 2015 07:46pm

When the words like killings and deaths are norms - The serial killers doing mindless killing just because they can do it is wrong. This need to stop for the sake of humanity.

Justice Feb 23, 2015 07:49pm

'ISIS' threat to Pakistan is an understatement because they are already in Pakistan and operating under a different name or may be under the banner of TTP. Every one knows that Pakistani govt is weak and thus a heaven for extremism / operating from. THE SOONER PAKISTAN ADOPTS A ZERO TOLERANCE POLICY THE BETTER FOR THE COUNTRY AS A WHOLE. Pakistan should learn from other countries who in order to get rid of drug dealers have a zero tolerance policy irrespective of pressure from other western countrties to stop hanging. Same should be applicable in Pakistan.

Mehtab Feb 23, 2015 08:06pm

Few weeks ago, interior minister said, there is no threat of ISIS. Our government is in state of denial.

nasir Feb 23, 2015 08:11pm

IS and all such groups are in response to the failure of the existing systems, political, economic, social, education

abhijeet Feb 23, 2015 08:13pm

ISIS and its sectarian agenda has already come to the sub continent. Pakistan is most at risk from it .

Mahesh Patil Feb 23, 2015 08:16pm

The habit of Pakistan as a nation in perpetual denial mode is causing huge set back for the future of country. Do or not to do position is hurting a common Pakistani.The elites have their own security arrangement and people dying are ordinary citizens who do not have name but number.

SK Feb 23, 2015 08:29pm

IS problem is definitely a threatening one, not just for Pakistan but for the entire world. The challenges for Pakistan are many, both internal and external. We must prioritize our issues and deal with them intelligently. I think corruption, feudalism, illiteracy, poor governance, and internal militancy are greater threats for the country today.

MALIK Feb 23, 2015 08:44pm

This threat is the real threat of Pakistan, still some Pakistani have soft corner for their interest. And it was so obvious in the recent election days that one of our National party used this group and due to this last election was showing that election is going on in Punjab only. And in the last 5 to 7 years the group has become so strong. First they were confined in Punjab only but now they are everywhere. Any govt or any force can not eliminate this type of force unless everybody has to support to the agencies who are really against them. And we must have clear our mind who is the real enemy of Pakistan

Akram Feb 23, 2015 08:53pm

@Chanakya

Pakistan is not an Islamic state, its a Muslim state. You need to learn the difference between the two. It was mean to be a Muslim state, not some theocratic state. Its founders were secular, read some history my friend.

Dr S Kazmi Feb 23, 2015 08:59pm

Twenty years ago in Pakistan none gave any heed to the formation of Taliban, now everyone wants to eradicate them. Now a days despite open indications of IS's presence on our motherland none wants to give them a second thought, I'm sure after ten years ( because IS is bit faster than Taliban) we will be rooting them out. Our tragedy is that we don't want to learn from our mistakes.

Mohammad Saleem Feb 23, 2015 09:46pm

Considering the state of growing militancy and violent extremism, Pakistan is a fertile ground for the spread of Daish tentacles, which is really pretty alarming. To counter this dangerous and disastrous threat, Pakistan and Afghanistan should join forces to curb and crack down on elements , who strive to recruit potential members to launch dealy attacks.

X Feb 23, 2015 09:46pm

@Akram

May be you started like that. Don't you think now you are so so far away from that?

Datta Feb 23, 2015 10:20pm

@zak there is no threat from India. Nobody in their right mind would want to occupy Pakistan with all its problems except groups like IS which thrive on anarchy.

Nitin Feb 23, 2015 10:22pm

@Akram what does your passport say ?

Effendi Feb 23, 2015 10:39pm

Why has the Interior Minister denied these claims before? Ch. Nisar is a liar as he categorically denied IS was a threat to Pakistan. He should resign for his lying and misinformation towards his countrymen.

Shame on Ch. Nisar!

Darya Khan Feb 23, 2015 10:54pm

Let us be careful and not fall into the trap once again. Government should focus on eradicating insurgency in Pakistan and let others fear about ISIS in the Middle East because they are the ones who have turned whole region upside down.

Imran Feb 23, 2015 10:55pm

The graffiti on the police check post is a sad reflection on the state of our society today.

DT Feb 23, 2015 10:55pm

What is wrong in it? This area was invaded by many in past. Let IS come. Future generation will tell, they are from Syria and Iraq decedents.

Ragu Feb 23, 2015 10:56pm

Why is ISIS a threat? No one seems to explain this! Pakistan is an Islamic state and Islam plays a huge role in all the affairs of the state. Is ISIS an extreme mis-interpretation of your faith?

GK Natarajan Feb 23, 2015 11:07pm

pakisthan"s failure on ecoomic front is a boost to such organisation! because,frustrated people can be brainwashed easily! nation should raise above silly divisive politics and fight this menace, as an united, narion! we india s fully support pakisthaan, on its fight against all sorts of miltancy\vionet activities!

Akhtar Feb 23, 2015 11:09pm

Scare tactics. There is NO IS in Pakistan. A few people like TTP are changing allegiance. Same terrorists just different badge. Pakistan army will crush this menace.

Farah Feb 23, 2015 11:27pm

Denial doesn't solve anything. When will PMLN understand that problems don't just go away? You have to at least accept that they exist.

Shahpur Feb 23, 2015 11:28pm

It all boils down to social injustice in the Islamic World. There are robbers and looters in Pakistan and the corrupt Rulers in the Islamic World. Peoples are faced with devils. The question is which one is a better devil.

Truthloader Feb 23, 2015 11:43pm

@ Nitin you are right. @ Akram the name of the country is Islamic Republic of Pakistan اسلامی جمہوریۂ پاكستان (Urdu) Islāmī Jumhūriyah-yi Pākistān

tanmay majumdar Feb 24, 2015 12:34am

Pakistan should lodge an air-strike in syria. Isis is a serious threat to the subcontinent. Finish them before thy reach afghanistan

Bombardier Feb 24, 2015 01:36am

is of Iraq and Levant poses a grave threat to whole world .thousands of gullible Muslim across the globe have joined it .radicalism if harboured in its any form tends to boomerang .so be it is or ttp or any other milltant outfit affiliated to any religion must be crushed for the sake of humanity.

resting in peace Feb 24, 2015 01:52am

all IS terrorists must be killed as soon as possible. it's good that now the interior minister acknowledged the menace ,which is first step in solving any problem.

Kalandar Feb 24, 2015 02:25am

What if they take Kashmir ?

Kautiliya Feb 24, 2015 02:56am

We know that you need resources to fight the IS. China a all weather friend will help with resources. America or Saudis are walking a tight rope and their resources are limited.

Kolsat Feb 24, 2015 02:59am

@Shamain: The USA always plays a duplicitous game. Syria has asked the US and its allies to not support its enemies because it goes to ISIS but the US does not listen because Iran supports Syria and US wants to control Iran. Any arms given to Syrian rebels go to ISIS. Therefore if the US really wants to control ISIS why are they supporting these rebels?

ashraf jamal Feb 24, 2015 03:03am

Neither ISIS nor IS nor Terrorist has good agenda, instead organizations are created by America and West to destroy Islamic world. Muslims must see the real agenda, get united.

Jawad U Rahman Feb 24, 2015 03:53am

So, the state knows IS is a big threat. Can it start dealing with the threat by arresting those who pledge allegiance to it openly, as in Jamia Hafsa's video. Can the state establish its writ? India promptly arrested the gentlemen who tried to tweet IS messages. Lal Masjid is the headquarters of future IS in Pakistan, if not checked immediately. Mark my words.

nobody Feb 24, 2015 04:52am

this was long time coming. this is the situation everyone were afraid of. weak government, low literacy rate, corruption, radical religious madrassas and add to the mix nuke. how did it anyone not see in coming. isis will be drawn to pak like ants to sugar. Hopefully Pakistan gets strong and liberal government who takes pak into 21st century.

BRR Feb 24, 2015 05:32am

@ashraf jamal So says the ostrich just before burying its head in the sand.

Najjee Feb 24, 2015 06:06am

Blow it out of proportion and than ask for outside financial aid; which is then distributed among the elites.

rkn Feb 24, 2015 06:28am

This is one thing we can all agree on with Pakistan's foreign secretary's take. But probably IS is already there in Pakistan and growing, their messaging is simple and catchy to Madrasah goers...do something if you're serious about fighting these extremist elements on top of a large list of extremists that you already have.

gee Feb 24, 2015 09:29am

@Akhtar - For your information the National Assembly has released an updated list of banned organisations in Pakistan. There are 49 of them. No other country in the world has that many banned organisations. No one dares to go after them. Politicians and army can put end to them in no time but where will their pay cheques come from. Still scare tactics!!!!

Shamain Feb 24, 2015 12:42pm

@Kolsat oh thnx n i know this already. But thnx