Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary, Aizaz Ahmed Chadhry, has ruled out any possibility of the existence of the Islamic State (more commonly known as Daesh) in the country. There have been reports of lower level extremist organizations reaching out to the infamous group that has conquered large parts of Iraq and Syria, but Islamabad maintains that there is not the existence of any footprints of Daesh.
In an interview with Radio Pakistan, Chaudhry also stated that no citizen will be allowed to have links with the terrorist organization, before going on to state that Pakistan is well and truly capable of thwarting any attempts made by any terrorist organization.
Pakistan taking care of Daesh
Recently Pakistan’s military conducted an aggressive campaign in a bid to weed out terrorism from the country’s northern areas. Although many lives have been lost due to the operation code-named Zarb-e-Azab, it is clear that the military has taken the fight to the terrorist organizations, which are now finding it hard to sustain their operations inside the country.
Meanwhile, National Assembly Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq said that Pakistan abhors terrorism and all types of extremism and sent his thoughts to the French, saying that Pakistan stands behind them and the government of France in what is a testing time for the country following the Daesh-operated attacks in Paris, which claimed the lives of 129 people. On the same day, Daesh also hit Beirut in a twin blast which left 43 dead and countless more injured.
Sadiq also revealed that he had spoken to the French ambassador in Islamabad and conveyed his sorrow along and that of his fellow parliamentarians and the people of Pakistan about the tragic incident. He believes that the mindset of terrorists is the same, whether they are in Peshawar or Paris, and went on to call them enemies of Islam and humanity.
Indeed, Pakistan knows all about the cost a country pays for such extremist elements. Over the last decade or so, 65,000 people have lost their lives in the war against terrorism. For this reason, it has become imperative for the global community to join hands to eradicate terrorism. The country’s Chief of Army Staff, General Raheel Sharif, was also in a bullish mood while addressing the Royal United Services Institute of Defense and Security Studies in London in October. The general stated that the country and his military will not allow “even a shadow” of Daesh to touch Pakistan’s soil and called the group a greater threat than al-Qaeda.
“There are people in Islamabad who want to show their allegiance to Daesh. So it’s a very dangerous phenomenon,” General Raheel warned.
Pakistan wary of the Daesh threat
Indeed, in a bid to tie up all lose ends, Pakistan’s military, in close collaboration with the Rangers, is conducting a nationwide search for possible extremist elements which might be vulnerable enough to lean on ISIS for support. For now, it is clear that ISIS has struggled to gain any sort of ground in its quest to cross Pakistan’s borders. However, the government, backed by the military, has taken a very active stance in terms of keeping ISIS at bay while it continues making life difficult for the Taliban and other extremist groups, which are believed to be tucking tail and crossing the border to reach Afghanistan.
Moreover, initial Daesh attempts to thrive in Pakistan were thwarted following the killings of four top ISIS leaders from Pakistan, including Ameer Hafiz Saeed Khan (who died on Apr. 17), deputy Ameer Mulla Abdul Rauf Khadim (who died on Feb. 9), his successor Hafiz Wahidi (who died on March 16), and its central spokesman, Shahidullah Shahid (who was killed in a drone attack on July 6).
Moreover, Pakistan and Iran have already agreed to work together for joint and coordinated efforts to eliminate Daesh and other terrorist organizations. Tehran has already taken quite a strong stance on the existence of Daesh and is more than willing to work with Islamabad, keeping in mind the rapidly changing security scenario in the region. Both states understand the need for a close collaboration against an enemy pursuing heinous activities and that is operating much more effectively than the likes of Al-Qaeda and Taliban, which makes it an even deadlier adversary than its predecessors.