Could ISIS emerge in Pakistan?
By Farhan Zahid.
Over 300 ISIS militants have been apprehended in Pakistan in the last year, according to Lt. General Asim Saleem Bajwa. The unprecedented growth of Walayat-e-Khurasan, a sect of the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS) in the region, has shown that ISIS is determined to break into the country, where it could take advantage of an ongoing instability, as it has in neighboring Afghanistan.
Initially, Pakistani authorities denied that ISIS has even reached Pakistan. Last year, Pakistan’s powerful Army Chief, General Raheel Sharif, reiterated that “as far as ISIS is concerned, in Pakistan, even a shadow of ISIS would not be allowed”. Now, however, ISIS is a “serious threat”, Pakistani Foreign Secretary Azaz Ahmad Choudhry concedes: “Under U.N. resolutions, Pakistan is firmly against extremist organizations like ISIS and is taking all actions to counter them.”
The denouncements are indicative of the fact that ISIS is growing in the region, but how? How has it been succeeding despite the heavy-handed policies of the Pakistani military and law enforcement agencies? And what can Pakistan do to stem its advance?
Several existing Islamist terrorist groups in Pakistan formally joined with Walayat-e-Khurasan after pledging allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. The recruitment of three such factions reveals some of ISIS’s methodology.
Jundullah was a small Islamist terrorist cell based in Karachi and previously linked with Al-Qaeda. Comprised of former members of the student arm of an Islamist political party, all of them, surprisingly, highly educated Islamists, Jundullah became a serious threat after …
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