ISIS in Pakistan

January 26, 2016 OPINION/NEWS


Sattar Rind

The Pakistani government constantly refuses to admit that ISIS exists in Pakistan, even Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Raheel Sharif in a speech once claiming that they will not accept the existence of ISIS in Pakistan.

Before this, from the government side, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar issued such statements on a number of occasions but no one ever believed him. The COAS’ statements have however created some hope, but not fully. Thus it is also a matter of an alternative option as people have no other choice but to believe.

This confusion was definitely the outcome of public experience and what they for a long time had observed in the country. They found everything to be the opposite of what was declared and asserted.

Although the COAS’ disclosure become a reason for half hope however, even that was against reality.

We must support this confessional reality with the empirical arguement from the day when ISIS/Daesh first proclaimed their existence in Pakistan. It must not be forgetten also that when the army started Operation Zarb-e-Azb on June 15th 2014 against the terrorists in North Waziristan, the people were forced to move in different cities of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) province.

These were the days when the people of Pakistan had seen the name ‘Daesh’ in Arabic script on walls of the cities wherever the internally displaced persons (IDPs) had taken temporary refuge.

From this time onwards, every city is full of written slogans on the walls in favor of ISIS/Daesh, either Karachi, Multan, Lahore, Faisalabad or even Islamabad, it could be seen by anyone.

It is also being claimed by independent sources that the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) leader Malik Ishaq was killed with his two sons and 11 colleagues in an encounter with police near Muzffargharh – a city of northern Punjab that had recently joined with ISIS. He was perhaps appointed as head of ISIS in Pakistan.

That ISIS does not exist in Pakistan therefore is itself not a valid proposition, it is a fact that since more than a quarter of the total Taliban militants had already changed their loyalty and joined ISIS. This spilt itself demonstrates the logic that the same ratio of Taliban militants must have been changed their dependency as well.

Consequently it is a very naïve perception they are not in Pakistan. Thus it is another thing altogether when they will announce their presence and appear from the wall chalkings; it’s a matter of time.

However it could not be easy for them to act in Pakistan as they have done in the Middle East, as they have no solid backing in Pakistan, nor have they any powerful country who would patronize them. What they have received is from Saudi Arabia, Israel, Turkey, USA and Arab oil countries at state level or from some influential individuals against the Shiite governments in Iraq and Syria.

They were trained and given weapons and other support by the aforementioned countries. This has been done the exact same way as Al-Qaeda militants were given support and patronized in Libya against Colonel Gaddafi in 2011. In this regard the most notorious example is Abu Abdullah Sadiq, also known as Abdelhakim Belhadj. He was a commander of Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and very close to Mullah Omar.

The CIA arrested him with the help of MI6 at the airport of Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur, and brought him back to Bangkok before moving to Libya where he was fully propped up and made head of a militant group to topple the Colonel Gaddafi Government. At one stage Senator and ex presidential candidate of the United States, John McCain, gave him a reward and declared him a “hero.” He was also involved in the killing of a number of black Libyans.

Now he has completely ensconced himself as organizational commander of ISIS, ruling the third largest city of Libya, Derna. He is reportedly recruiting militants and providing training to them, sending them to fight alongside ISIS in Iraq and Syria.

In Pakistan neighboring countries are already very consciously against ISIS/Daesh. Iran is specially working to eliminate them from the earth and there are reports that they are also supporting the Taliban fighters in Afghanistan against ISIS so that they do not gain a foothold in Afghanistan.

The same reports are stating that Russia is providing weapons and sharing intelligence with the Taliban in Afghanistan to be stronger in the fight against ISIS there, as well as closely watching the central Asian countries for any possibility of ISIS existence.

This is what Pakistan desires but the sorry state is that Pakistan is not taking any action against ISIS’ open supporters, such as Maulana Abdul Aziz of Red Mosque fame in Islamabad who is adopting the ISIS ideology and claiming that one day Daesh will rule the world.

Besides, there are a number of the Madrassas who are in fact manufacturing factories of militant forces and no action is being taken against them. The media is therefore indirectly preaching and sounding off the militant culture but the controlling authorities of the media have sewn their lips and closed their eyes.

There are a number of channels that appear to be working for such a culture, much the same as the Madrassas in Pakistan on a daily basis. On 16th December 2014 the Pakistani nation witnessed a very shocking attack on the army public school at Peshawar, killing 141 people including 132 children. The shockwave was felt in every corner of Pakistan, the whole nation in mourning from this heinous crime of the Taliban.

Reacting to this the government specially amended the constitution, giving army powers under the National Action Plan (NAP) to eliminate the terrorists. In such a plan it was very clear for action to be taken against the Madrassas and Islamic political organizations working directly or indirectly for terrorism.

Nothing however appears to have happened, except for the hanging of a few militants who were for seven years waiting for a final decision by the head of state either to accept or reject their mercy appeals. They were rejected and the government hung them. But this action brought no change whatsoever in militant actions.

They constantly remain active however, though due to more vigilance their action has been reduced considerably, but not stopped altogether. They have carried out numerous attacks in different cities but their intensity and the number of has greatly reduced, particularly due to the vigilance of the army. Nevertheless, and just over a year after Peshawar, they attacked Bacha Khan University killing 22 students and teachers at Charsadda, on 20th January.

People were already criticizing the National Action Plan and this attack only made them more vocal to criticize its impotent role. People lost all hope of improvement from the ruling elites of Pakistan. This is an enormously hopeless situation and people fear greatly they will very soon have to face more brutality from ISIS.






Sattar Rind

Sattar Rind lives in Sindh, Pakistan. and is an Author with four books to his credit. three poetry and one on politics. As a Columnist he has written for a number of newspapers and magazines since 1991. Sattar can be contacted at the following email address: [email protected]


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