Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Sami (JUI-S) provincial chief Syed Yousaf Shah has termed rumours of the presence of ISIS (Islamic State) in Pakistan as purely media speculation.
Speaking to journalists during his visit to Shabqadar on Tuesday, he denied the presence of the ISIS in the country. “At this stage, it is operating in Iraq and Syria,” Shah said. However, he warned the government to change its policy towards militancy to prevent ISIS from gaining a stronghold in Pakistan.
“Musharraf’s policies gave rise to the Taliban,” the JUI-S chief recalled. “If the government follows a similar approach, it may encourage ISIS to establish its influence in the country.”
Over the past few days, wall-chalking bearing slogans favouring the militant organisation has emerged with alarming frequency in Peshawar. Earlier on Friday, police were directed to remove all such wall-chalking and track down those responsible.
To a question, Shah threw his weight behind Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) leader Munawar Hassan’s statement on the forced implementation of Shariah law.
“I personally agree with him because in the current political system, there is no other way to enforce Shariah in a peaceful manner,” Shah said.
According to the JUI-S chief, negotiations between the Taliban and the government did not bear fruit as the former did not issue their demands. Moreover, Shah insisted that the government has failed to meet it promises of restoring peace.
The JUI-S chief said Afghan President Ashraf Ghani is not the ‘real owner’ of Afghanistan. His influence is only restricted to Kabul while the Taliban has control over the rest of the country and some areas of Pakistan, he added.
“The United States is pretending to withdraw from Afghanistan,” Shah said. “On the contrary, it wants to control the entire region, including China, from Afghanistan.”
The JUI-S chief claimed that the US was unwilling to completely withdraw from the country because its economy is on the verge of collapse. “If the US completely withdraws from Afghanistan, it will serve as a massive blow to its economy,” he added
Speaking about the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)’s sit-in in Islamabad, Shah said change is inevitable but it cannot come through needless intervention of third parties. He castigated the PTI chief for his approach to the sit-ins.
“Although the PML-N government has failed to address the PTI’s reservations in an effective manner, singing and dancing is not a suitable method of agitation,” Shah added.
To a question, the JUI-S chief claimed poliovirus posed a major threat to the country. Shah pressed the government to take action to stem the spread of the disease.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 26th, 2014.