RAWALPINDI: Security agencies are said to be tracking two brothers allegedly recruiting on behalf of the self-styled Islamic State (IS) terrorist organisation in the twin cities.

Despite the interior minister’s protestations that IS has no foothold in the country, law enforcement agencies are well-aware of the activities of groups allegedly affiliated with the organisation popularly known by its Arabic acronym, Daesh.

A recent intelligence report, circulated by the Punjab Home Department, warns that IS sympathisers have currently embarked on a recruitment drive, saying that IS propaganda and video CDs bearing footage of the Paris terrorist attacks are “proliferating... to allure and incite the Pakistani youth”.

The same report also names three individuals who are said to have pledged allegiance to the terrorist group: Amir Mansoor, the Daesh emir for Islamabad; and brothers Imran and Ehsan Satti. The Satti brothers are originally from Murree and are said to be living in Islamabad.

Ehsan has obtained ‘jihadi training’, the report states, adding that his name has already been recommended for inclusion in the list of 4th Schedulers (of the Anti-Terrorism Act).

City Police Officer Israr Ahmed Abbasi told Dawn that police had been conducting search operations in different parts of the district, in line with the National Action Plan, to arrest suspects. But he said that his department had not been specifically directed to arrest the two suspects because this was the jurisdiction of the Counter Terrorism Department (CTD).

Sources in the CTD said that the two men identified by the Punjab Home Department were already on the department’s wanted list. They said that the brothers were suspected of involvement in the attack on a police raiding party in Dhamial in October 2015.

A sub-inspector was killed and three others were injured, while five members of a family suspected of being involved in terrorist activities were killed in a fire fight.

The report also warns that IS sympathisers were trying to recruit youth from Fata and Afghan refugee camps in KP to take part in jihad.

Law enforcement agencies have been directed to keep a close eye on Afghan refugees camps, and the home department has warned that various militant groups, including commanders from the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) and other groups from Central Asian states, were also joining hands with the IS.

The report also recommends that activists from a certain school of thought sympathetic towards extremists should be watched closely, as they may be susceptible to Daesh propaganda.

Published in Dawn, January 5th, 2016

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