Unvarying denial: Pakistan’s self deception about IS presence
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2016-01-05 08:18:32

Unvarying denial: Pakistan’s self deception about IS presence

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The Foreign Office on Thursday said Daesh was not in an organised form in Pakistan while its influence was increasing in neighbouring Afghanistan.Commenting on media reports about the arrest of some people linked to Daesh or Islamic State at the weekly media conference here, the Foreign Office Spokesman Qazi Khalilullah said investigations were under way but he was not in a position to say who had left Pakistan to join the militant outfit. As the FO spokesperson was speaking, there were reports of a statement being given to BBC Urdu by Lahore Deputy Inspector General Haider Ashraf that three women had left Lahore for Syria, along with their children, to join the IS and that previous reports that they had been kidnapped were in error; the women left of their own free will. This report came a day after security forces had reportedly broken up a group of eight people who were trying to recruit for the IS in Sialkot. There are other well-sourced reports in the press regarding IS recruitment activity in and around Lahore, and further reports that some of those who having reached Syria were trying to recruit others via video links on the internet. These are not unverified tittle-tattle or nebulous anecdotes; these are hard reports containing checkable detail that tell us that the IS is actively recruiting in Pakistan, and to say anything otherwise, particularly if the person saying it is speaking for the government, is bordering on the delusional. There have been reports of IS literature circulating in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab — particularly southern Punjab — and Karachi for over a year. If those reports are in the public domain, it is impossible to believe that the security agencies and the police were not also aware of them. The symbols of the IS are openly displayed on retail outlets at various places in Punjab, including Islamabad, as evidenced by photographs posted on social media. Again, if the man in the street can see these symbols, then so can those whose job it is to guard the security of the state against the threats presented by the IS. At the very least, all of this is a widespread indication of support for the IS if nothing else. The IS is a powerful and well-resourced organisation that has widened its reach in the last two years. It is able to mount successful sophisticated operations in Western countries and has sympathisers in the US prepared to both kill and die for it. There is ample evidence of the IS using the internet as a radicalising tool that is effective and potent. The ubiquity of the internet means that for the IS, the world is almost literally its oyster. Given that there has long been a climate of radicalisation in Pakistan and extremist elements have considerable public support, it is no surprise to find the IS footprint all over the country because for the terror group, Pakistan will be the happiest of hunting grounds. It is clear from the arrests noted above that not all the security agencies or the police are completely blind or deaf and are moving on some of those who are both willing to be recruited and those who are doing the recruiting — who if evidence from elsewhere in the world is to be believed will have been radicalised by whatever means and quite possibly received training as well. Just because there is scant evidence that the IS is militarily operational in Pakistan does not mean that it does not have a presence, and an active presence at that. The sooner the government wakes up to that the safer we will all be.





Categories:   Pakistan ،
Tags:   pakistan ، ISIS ، Daesh ، Lahore ،
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