Islamic State poses serious threat to Pakistan: FO

Published: February 23, 2015
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PHOTO: AFP

PHOTO: AFP

ISLAMABAD: Days after the interior minister denied the presence of Islamic State (IS) in South Asia, particularly Pakistan, the Foreign Office said the militant group poses a threat to the country.

“The government is on alert to the IS threat in the region,” Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry said while briefing the Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs in Islamabad at Parliament on Monday.

The foreign secretary further said the government has directed all concerned authorities to ensure that no organisation or individual remain in contact with IS in the country.

Read: The Islamic State movement and Pakistan

The Islamic State, is a militant group that has has set up a self-proclaimed caliphate on large swathes of land in Syria and Iraq.

A bipartisan parliamentary panel discussed the potential threat posed by IS or Daish to Pakistan amid reports that the ruthless militant outfit is seeking a foothold in the country.

Read: Potential hazard: FO to brief Senate panel on threat posed by IS

However, Chaudhry clarified Pakistan has no desire to become part of the international coalition against IS.

The cabinet meeting presided over by Senator Haji Adeel was called to address the potential threat posed by the IS in Pakistan.

Read: The Islamic State — implications for Pakistan

The government has long denied the presence of the militant group in the country.

“As of now, I can say with confidence that the ISIS only exists in the Middle East,” he said. “It absolutely has no presence in Afghanistan and Pakistan,” Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar said while speaking at the United States Institute of Peace in Washington on Thursday.

Read: Peshawar attack brought a sea of change in Pakistani mindset on terrorism: Nisar

He said that the terrorist space in South Asia was totally occupied; however, if the issues were not addressed, a grand alliance between different groups could not be ruled out in the future.

IS wall chalkings in DI Khan. PHOTO: PPI

Last year as well, the interior minister had quashed speculation about the presence of the militant group.

Read: Nisar rules out presence of IS in Pakistan

His statement had come a few days after Balochistan Home Secretary Akbar Hussain Durrani denied claims of the presence of IS militants on ground in the province.

Read: Neither IS nor sympathisers present in Balochistan: Home Department

However, wall chalkings in favour of the militant group have earlier appeared in major cities, including Lahore, Quetta and Karachi.

Read: Writing on the walls: Quetta police to investigate graffiti supporting IS

IS wall chalking in a Quetta street. PHOTO: ONLINE

Earlier, splits within the Taliban, and doubts over whether its elusive leader is even alive, were said to be driving a growing number of militant commanders in Afghanistan and Pakistan towards IS for inspiration.

Read: Disenchanted militants in Pakistan, Afghanistan eye Islamic State with envy

Security and intelligence sources believed there are no operational links yet between IS and South Asia, and that the region is not a priority for a group that occupies areas of Syria and Iraq and is focused on the Arab world.

Earlier, this year intelligence sources had also claimed security forces arrested a man believed to be the commander of the IS group in the country as well as two accomplices involved in recruiting and sending fighters to Syria.

Read: Security forces arrest local Islamic State commander in Lahore: sources

However, sources revealed that al Salafi was actually arrested sometimes in December last year and it was only disclosed on January 22.

Read: Startling revelations: IS operative confesses to getting funds via US

Yousaf al Salafi – allegedly the Pakistan commander of IS – had confessed during investigations that he has been receiving funds through the United States.

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Reader Comments (18)

  • Abdullah
    Feb 23, 2015 - 7:10PM

    People hide the problem in their countries and look at our politicians, for $ they are trying to bring new war in Pakistan. Mr. Sirtaj Aziz sahib kindly leave the country before people come and beat you.Recommend

  • Raj - USA
    Feb 23, 2015 - 7:26PM

    I am so confused with what Nawaz Sharif is doing. On the one hand he appears to be giving full support to Raheel Sharif to go after the terrorists and wipe them out and on the other hand he is keeping terrorist supporters like Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan in important positions. If Nawaz Sharif is to be believed that he is against terrorists, he should sack Ch. Nisar immediately. Recommend

  • Guest
    Feb 23, 2015 - 7:40PM

    Even high rank universities like GIKI have messages saying things like “Marhaba Daish” scribbled on walls. Recommend

  • anwar kamal
    Feb 23, 2015 - 8:22PM

    ISI should stop support the terrorist of Bangladesh.Recommend

  • zara
    Feb 23, 2015 - 8:56PM

    i hope our intel agencies remin vigilant. And i dont think so america will ever offer any genuine help.Recommend

  • zara
    Feb 23, 2015 - 9:00PM

    @anwar kamal:
    Lolz . I think if your breakfast burns you scream isi did thatRecommend

  • Feb 23, 2015 - 10:58PM

    President Obama recently said this about ISIL: “They’ve rampaged across cities and villages killing innocents. They abduct women and children; subject them to torture and rape and slavery. They’ve murdered Muslims, both Sunni and Shia, by the thousands. They target Christians and religious minorities, driving them from their homes, murdering them because they practice a different religion. ISIL speaks for no religion.”

    These are terrorists who have no compassion for anyone who will not adhere to their ideologies. They kill without any remorse. There should be a genuine concern for any influence or support of this group. Pakistanis have already rejected the terrorism and violence that has killed over 60,000 of their citizens. The time is ripe for everyone to stand up against any support or influence of this terror organization in the region and let them know that they will not be welcomed.

    Abdul Quddus
    DET – U.S. Central Command
    http://www.facebook.com/centcomurduRecommend

  • Khalid Ansari
    Feb 23, 2015 - 11:13PM

    The ISIS seems to relish beheading opponents and making videos of the act for mass circulation. The modernists are far more advanced in technology and don’t need to demonstrate their immense lethal power so blatantly. If killing other people you don’t like is taken as a measure of judging your humanity, the ISIS lags miserably behind and their horror is greatly exaggerated. Recommend

  • Wizarat
    Feb 24, 2015 - 12:18AM

    When is Pakistan truly going to denounce ISIS and its supporters.

    Supporters include Turkey, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Qatar, UAE, and Egypt.

    Can Pakistan afford to alienate these countries? How much money the rulers of Pakistan makes from these countries?

    Can Pakistan afford not to fight ISIS and its Wahhabi ideology?

    It is an existential threat for Pakistan, and sooner it decides the better it is for Pakistan to fight ISIS, ASWJ, LEJ, and Taliban.Recommend

  • zara
    Feb 24, 2015 - 1:12AM

    Plz someoe tell Centcom this 60000 figure includes drone strikes innocent victims.ones that were maimed by drones, are not discussed right now.

    Zara,
    Fan of hypocrisy,
    Express tribune reader.Recommend

  • Nadeem
    Feb 24, 2015 - 1:26AM

    My dears don’t worry about Islamic Estate threat,what you should worry about is your own ASHRAFIA..and you your RELIGIOUS leaders..they are the one who are biggest threat for Pakistan.Recommend

  • Mr Pukhtoon
    Feb 24, 2015 - 1:49AM

    @Abdullah:
    ISIS considers Pakistan as its territory.Look at the world map ISIS issued.Pakistan is the ultimate prize for these crazy people because of its nuclear weaponry.Recommend

  • contra
    Feb 24, 2015 - 2:01AM

    agreed, but its a much bigger problem and concern in India because of the repressed Muslim minority , but Express Tribune would never publish that news , what they publish is what a bollywood actor had for breakfast. Goes to show where their pay cheques come from.Recommend

  • Ashraf
    Feb 24, 2015 - 7:11AM

    It will take at least 40-50 years for Pakistan to rid itself of extremist ideologies. An entirely new generation (born today) has to grow up without extremist brainwashing and lead the nation. Recommend

  • Zaida Parvez
    Feb 24, 2015 - 7:17AM

    Who knows? Maybe Al-Baghdadi’s rule might be better than democracy for Pakistan. Maybe it is time to try that too.Recommend

  • Khalid Ansari
    Feb 24, 2015 - 7:15PM

    Actually it is time for a new social contract not just in Pakistan but across the world. The IMF head Christine Lagarde said it well last year when she called for a new Bretton Woods to bring the world systems in line with current reality. The institutions we have today are out of touch and are not meeting the needs of the vast majority of the people of this planet. This is the prime cause of the major upheavals across many countries and the endless so called ‘war on terror’; terminology which has become an embarrassment even for the USA.Recommend

  • Usama
    Feb 24, 2015 - 9:46PM

    @Wizarat:
    I’m sure UAE is against ISIL in fact they are carrying out air strikes against them. Recommend

  • Ibrahim Ismail
    Mar 4, 2015 - 5:43PM

    @Guest:
    I am a student at GIKI and I have seen anything like that.
    You maybe right, as the university is quite huge and I probably haven’t seen every wall but I think it’s just a rumor. :PRecommend

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