Pakistan will not accept any activity from the terrorist group, also known as Islamic State, and called for a global response to the threat it poses to world security.
According to Director General Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Lt Gen Asim Bajwa Islamic State militants have no acceptance in Pakistan. Authorities in Islamabad expressed their commitment to fulfilling their role in combating the group.
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Islamic State militants have no place in Pakistan
“There is a zero tolerance for Daesh in Pakistan. Even Daesh’s shadow will not be allowed in Pakistan,” said DG ISPR. He later added that the group has been totally rejected by Pakistani society and any visible action from the group will lead to swift action from authorities.
Lt Gen Bajwa said that the threat posed by Daesh is centered in the Middle East, with some activity in Afghanistan. “IS is gaining foothold in Afghanistan. But there is no room for it in Pakistan. There is zero tolerance policy for the group in the country. Clear cut action will be taken against it,” he said.
When questioned on Pakistan’s role in combating the group, Bajwa said that Islamabad is already fighting terrorism within a larger framework. According to Bajwa Daesh rose to prominence at a time when Pakistan was already clamping down on militant activity. “People were already fed up with terrorism and there was no acceptance for it in the society and they will be defeated in coming days,” he added.
Close cooperation with Afghan authorities to help Zarb-e-Azb operation
Regarding Afghanistan Bajwa expressed his support for the Afghan-led reconciliation process, including the stalled Murree peace talks. “The process had taken off and had it continued, there would have been progress made by now,” he added.
“US leaders paid glowing tributes to Pakistan and its armed forces and there was a clear recognition and acknowledgement of the opportunities created both inside and outside Pakistan because of Zarb-e-Azb,” said Bajwa. The Zarb-e-Azb operation aims to strike militant camps in North Waziristan, and U.S. officials lauded the efforts during Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s recent visit to Washington.
Bajwa went on to explain that following the operation in North Waziristan, some militants had moved into Khyber tribal agency which is difficult terrain for the Pakistani army. “Terrorists have taken shelter in a pocket of Shawal region, which was now being cleared,” he said.
Coordinated effort to stamp out Islamist militants in Pakistan
The armed forces media representative went on to explain that the long, porous border with Afghanistan presents a unique set of challenges. Pakistani authorities are currently in talks with their Afghan counterparts In order to improve the situation.
Bajwa did not put a time fame on the operation, but underlined the fact that Pakistani authorities are working to complete the mission as quickly as possible. Zarb-e-Azb has been backed up by 12,000 intelligence-based operations (IBO) targeting sleeper cells and abettors.
“The operation against terrorists will not end mid-way and it will reach its logical conclusion,” said the general. Pakistan has a great deal of experience in fighting terrorists and has a lot of expertise to offer the world, he added.
Paris attacks lead to greater international cooperation
After Islamic State militants carried out coordinated attacks in Paris last week which left at least 132 people dead, the international community has entered into a new period of cooperation to fight the militants. Even Russian President VladimirPutin, previously an international pariah due to the conflict in Ukraine, has seemingly been brought back into the fold.
Russia has been carrying out airstrikes on Islamic State targets in Syria, as has a U.S.-led coalition. Talks are underway about a coordinated response, exactly the kind of global cooperation mentioned by Bajwa.
As Islamic State continues to prove that its reach has extended beyond traditional strongholds, the need for international cooperation becomes even more pressing. After the Paris attacks it became obvious that a lack of communication between national security agencies in Europe made it easier for militants to move and operate freely.
Lessons must be learned from the fact that the Paris attacks were carried out by extremists known to authorities. Pakistan has years of experience fighting insurgents and its input could be extremely valuable in the fight against Islamic State.
Pakistan’s continued demonstration of its commitment to eliminating terrorism will also show the world how the country is maturing and shaking off the insecurity that has dogged it for decades. The threat of violent attacks from extremists has contributed to a lack of economic development in Pakistan, and now Islamabad has the chance to show that it has turned a corner.