Rava is an online news portal providing recent news, editorials, opinions and advice on day to day happenings in Pakistan.
After months of denying the existence of the Islamic State in Pakistan, federal authorities seem to have finally accepted that the Middle Eastern terrorist outfit is gaining a foothold in the country.
According to a list of militant outfits proscribed by the interior ministry, the IS group – also known by its Arabic acronym of Da’ish – was banned in July. The list was shared by the country’s security czar in parliament last week.
Considering the official stance, the government has banned Da’ish without the group’s presence in the country. The list shows the outfit was proscribed on July 15, making it the only one to have been banned in the aftermath of the APS Peshawar massacre of December last year.
The last group to be banned was the Jeay Sindh Muttahida Mahaz on March 15, 2013. The Hafiz Saeed-led Jamaatud Dawa happens to be under observation since Dec 1, 2005.
So has the government is finally acknowledged the presence of the militant outfit by banning it? “This is contradictory to the previous statements of the government that IS does not exist in Pakistan or it is not operating in Pakistan,” said Ashraf Jahangir Qazi, former ambassador to the US and former head of Institute of Strategic Studies in Islamabad. “The government issues contradictory statements all the time. There is nothing new here.”
Or, he added, it is not necessary the militant group had been operating in the country and the government may just be echoing the narrative of the US.
“This is a straight-forward regional, sectarian fight with one of the richest countries supporting all the Sunni extremists and then Iran, on the other hand, supporting the others,” Ashraf said. “This is their fight and it has reached Pakistan and we follow what we are told whether it’s consistent or not.”
Maintaining its official stance, the Foreign Office has repeatedly stated that Da’ish has no footprint in the country, despite reports that some local militant groups have already aligned themselves with the terrorist group, which has established a self-styled caliphate in Syria and Iraq.
According to some security officials, banning IS was a pre-emptive measure to deny the militant group any space in the country. Under the National Action Plan, the government has been monitoring activities and movements of proscribed organisations. The measures include barring public appearance of militant leaders and re-emergence of banned outfits under new names.
On August 4, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had constituted a committee to oversee the implementation of sanctions against designated terrorists under the UN Security Council resolutions. A ban is already in place on the media coverage of proscribed organisations and individuals.
The recruitments for ISIS have been going on in Pakistan for the past more than 3 years, but the Foreign and the Interior Ministries of Pakistan have been constantly denying the presence and activities of ISIS in Pakistan. Law Enforcement agencies have very recently arrested many people from Lahore, Islamabad, Karachi and Sialkot who were associated with ISIS networks.
Men have been recruited as jihadis or mujahids and women as jihadi wives to provide sexual needs of fighters who are fighting in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. Many women, impressed and convinced through brainwashing with the concept of Jihad-Bil-Nikah, got divorce from their Pakistani husbands and went to marry a Mujahid of ISIS for a certain period, came back gave birth to the child of Mujahid, and remarried their former husband.
Some decide to continue that marriage for rest of their lives. All of this is being done to obtain worldly wealth and later eternal life in Heaven because ISIS is paying something around RS. 50,000 to 60,000 per month to every warrior, which is a hefty amount for an unemployed youth suffering in unemployment, poverty and inflation here in Pakistan, which is ruled by corrupt ruling elite for the past 68 years and masses only got poverty for being true Muslims and patriot Pakistanis. Most secret and law-enforcement agencies have behaved like a silent bystander to the activities of ISIS in the country. Is this an unofficial channel of providing soldiers to provide the Saudi demands for fighters to fight on behalf of Saudi armies in Yemen and Syria.