ISLAMABAD: Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on Saturday stated that the militant Islamic State (IS) group which is a Middle Eastern organisation, has no presence in Pakistan
"Daesh does not exist in Pakistan. Other terrorist groups, which are involved in activities against the state are using Daesh's name and are causing death and destruction in the country," the interior minister elaborated.
He said IS does not maintain the same level of presence in Pakistan as it does in other North African and Middle Eastern countries.
Earlier this week, the director general of the Intelligence Bureau (IB), Aftab Sultan, informed the Senate Standing Committee on Interior that the IS group was emerging as a threat in the country because several militant groups had soft corner for it.
The IB cheif specifically named Lashkar-i-Jhangvi and Sipah-i-Sahaba Pakistan as examples.
The interior ministry has been denying the presence of IS in Pakistan, saying that it was an Arab organisation. But Mr Sultan said the IB had busted a big IS network after several members reached Punjab following Karachi’s Safoora Goth carnage in May.
Sultan elaborated that terrorists were reorganising and stressed the need for a border control mechanism, particularly with Afghanistan, enhanced regional cooperation, implementation of the National Action Plan and de-radicalisation policy with a focus on counter-narrative.
Director General Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Lt Gen Asim Bajwa had also stated in November 2015 that Pakistan has a zero tolerance for Daesh and the terrorist group has no acceptance in the country.
He had elaborated that the Pakistani society has totally rejected Daesh and there was no acceptance of the terror group in Pakistan.
He had also stated that action is expected against any visibility of Daesh in Pakistan.
It is pertinent to mention that the interior minister had stated the same in Novermber last year.
A claim on this region
IS has staked a claim to this region — which it refers to by its historical name of 'Khorasan' — as part of its expansionist agenda; and its territorial gains in Syria and Iraq, where it is putting its ultra-radical ideology into practice, offer a template for terrorist groups in Pakistan.
Among these is the Lashkar-i-Jhangvi, one of the main perpetrators of sectarian carnage in the country, whose links with the ‘IS-inspired’ militants have been disclosed by the police.
IS in January 2015 had also announced its organisational structure for 'Khorasan' led by a former leader of the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) from Orakzai, Hafez Saeed Khan. A former Afghan Taliban leader, Mullah Abdul Rauf Khadim, was named his deputy.