Islamic State, also recognized as ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) “DAESH” is an Islamic Sunni insurgent group. Previously this group was known as Al-Qaida in Iraq. The basic motive of this group is to establish a ‘Caliphate System’ in Iraq and Syria and all over the world. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is the leader of the group.
Islamic State of Iraq and Syria is certainly an outcome of American intervention in Iraq, futile ‘Spring’ movement and biased policies of Iraqi Shiite government (headed by Nouri al-Maliki till 2014) against Sunni’s. Within a very short period of time Islamic State has achieved enormous military conquests. Unrest in Syria also played a vital role in its resurgence. ISIS has now become a major problem requiring attention on the worldwide level. Islamic State is scattering its influence beyond the Middle East. Killing and slaughtering and beheading innocent people in Islam’s name. ISIS is extending training to foreign fighters from all around the world and there is a threat that these foreign fighters can conduct suicide attacks in their home country in future.
There are some indicators which make us to believe on the IS presence in Pakistan such as slogans written in chalk on walls in Baluchistan, Peshawar and Karachi. Pamphlets are now being distributed in Pakistan with the name of Daulat-e-Islamia and DAESH in which it is mentioned to support DAESH are also sign for the IS presence in Pakistan. These notes were also circulated in Afghan refugee camps in Peshawar. Rehman Malik, senator of PPP has also agreed upon the IS existence in Pakistan. Apart from these there are some groups who announced their support to Islamic State such as the “East Turkistan Islamic Movement”, “Jamat-e-Ahrarul Islam” associated with TTP and last but not the least Tehreek-e- Khilafat officially announced their support to IS. “Jamia Hafsa” students also announced their support to Islamic States. But the government and military leadership of Pakistan is denying the presence of IS in Pakistan. National Security Advisor Sartaj Aziz claimed that Islamic State is not a threat for Pakistan. Interior Minister Nisar Ali khan also said the same. He also said that government agencies and institutions are building effort to make sure that no other terrorist groups in Pakistan get in touch with with Islamic State. On the other hand the group itself did not officially claim responsibility for any terrorist activity in Pakistan.
Already about 200 religious groups and organizations are working in Pakistan as well as regionally. If ISIS is operating in Pakistan then these groups can provide moral support and funding to IS. Sectarian clashes mainly between Shiite and Sunni are also at an intense level in Pakistan
Pakistan is a country that is already facing many internal security problems and fighting war against terror. Already about 200 religious groups and organizations are working in Pakistan as well as regionally. If ISIS is operating in Pakistan then these groups can provide moral support and funding to IS. Sectarian clashes mainly between Shiite and Sunni are also at an intense level in Pakistan. Thus the existence of ISIS in Pakistan can further exacerbate the sectarian clashes between Shiite-Sunni. This will direct tensions across the border as well as may affect the relationship of Pakistan with its neighbors. Popular support to Islamic State may become a cause of evil in Pakistan- Iran friendly relationship who is also supporting Shitte militias fighting against IS in Iraq and Syria. In case of ISIS presence in Pakistan, our country could become a platform for another conflict which would be between al-Qaida and Islamic State. For the most important is that Islamic state presence in Pakistan can again open a gate for American direct military intervention in Pakistan as they are doing in Iraq and Syria.
Now it is the job of the administration, military and intelligence agencies to confirm the Islamic state presence in Pakistan and if it proves that the group is active in Pakistan then strong policy measures should be adopted to counter that group at preliminary level as well as strict counter acts should be taken against those extremist groups who are supporting ISIS in Pakistan. They should not be allowed to use our territory for extremist purposes and killing the innocent people on the name of Islam
(The writer is a student of Defense and Diplomatic Studies at Fatima Jinnah Women University. E-mail: email@example.com)