KARACHI: The provincial government of Balochistan has conveyed a confidential report to the federal government and law enforcement agencies warning of increased footprints of militant organisation Islamic State (IS), also known by the Arabic acronym Daish, in Pakistan.
The ‘secret information report’, a copy of which is available with DawnNews, is dated October 31, and states that IS has claimed to have recruited a massive 10 to 12,000 followers from the Hangu and Kurram Agency tribal areas.
“It has been reliably learnt that Daish has offered some elements of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) Deobandi and Ahl-e-Sunnat Wai Jamat (ASWJ) Deobandi to join hands in Pakistan. Daish has also formed a ten-member Strategic Planning Wing,” the report from the Home and Tribal Affair Department of Balochistan says.
The report states that the IS plans to attack military installations and government buildings in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in retaliation to the army-led Zarb-i-Azb operation in North Waziristan and also plans to target members of the minority Shia community.
The Balochistan government called for heightened vigilance and security measures in the province as well as the northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to prevent and pre-empt such attacks.
It has moreover called for sensitising law enforcement agencies on the issue and an increased monitoring of LeJ members.
The warning comes days after six top commanders of the outlawed Deobandi Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), including its now defunct spokesman Shahidullah Shahid, have announced their allegiance to IS’s caliph Abu Bakar Al-Baghdadi Al Qureshi Al-Hussaini..
The Taliban spokesman said he, along with TTP chief for Orakzai Agency Saeed Khan, TTP chief for Kurram Agency Daulat Khan Deobandi , TTP’s Khyber Agency chief Fateh Gul Zaman, TTP’s Peshawar chief Mufti Hassan and TTP’s Hangu chief Khalid Mansoor, have announced their allegiance to Abu Bakar Al-Baghdadi.
Earlier in the week, Shahidullah Shahid was replaced by Mohammad Khurasani as the new TTP spokesperson
The Islamic State’s presence has not been officially established so far.
Security expert Dr Ejaz Hussain believes that Pakistan faces a perceived threat from the IS but it can mature into a real threat if they succeed in aligning themselves with the splinter groups of mainstream militants groups, including the TTP.
“If the Pakistan security apparatus fails to check their footprints, it could be a setback for them in future. It appears that the IS wants to focus on Pakistan and Afghanistan, particularly the time when US forces begin to withdraw from Afghanistan. If not checked, IS will pose a major threat to South Asia and the Persian Gulf,” Hussain told Dawn.
IS, which is led by Abu Bakar Al-Baghdadi, is currently based in Iraq and Syria and occupies border areas. It is accused of killing hundreds of Muslims and some American and UK citizens, which include journalists and aid workers.
Wall-chalking has also begun to appear in support of IS in some cities of Pakistan, including Karachi and Khanewal.
Police in Khanewal said it had registered a case against unknown persons for engaging in wall chalking and was also investigating their presence. However, police in Karachi have not registered any case.
Last month, a pamphlet was distributed in Peshawar. Police has not registered a case against anyone and has expressed their ignorance about any such pamphlet.