Islamic State footprint on rise in Pakistan: Report

Islamabad, Jan 8 : The footprint of the militant Islamic State (IS) group is continuously on the rise in Pakistan as over the past year responsibility for as many as six deadliest attacks, in which 153 people were killed, was claimed by the outfit, according to a think-tank report.

The security report by Pakistan Institute for Peace Studies (PIPS) on Sunday stated that the IS, especially active in northern Sindh and Balochistan, was also behind the abduction and killing of two Chinese nationals last year, Dawn online reported.

“The IS claimed responsibility for just six terrorist attacks in the country, but they were the most deadliest ones. There is a need to take the matter more seriously because there is a possibility that foreign fighters would come to Pakistan in near future as things are continuously changing in the Middle East,” said PIPS offical Muhammad Ismail Khan.

“What has been quite alarming is the increasing footprint of IS, especially in Balochistan and northern Sindh where the group claimed responsibility for some of the deadliest attacks,” Khan said.

According to the report, despite a 16 per cent decline in terrorist attacks last year, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and its associated groups remained the most potent threats. They were followed by nationalist-insurgent groups, especially Balochistan Liberation Army and Balochistan Liberation Front.

It further said that concerted efforts and a revision of the National Action Plan was required to curb the terror group’s activities. The report suggested a parliamentary oversight of Pakistan’s counter-terror plan.

Militant, nationalist/insurgent and violent sectarian groups carried out 370 terrorist attacks in 64 districts of the country in 2017, the think-tank said.

These incidents, including 24 suicide and gun-and-suicide coordinated attacks, left 815 people dead. The report noted that as compared to 2016, the attacks in the country from across the Afghan, Indian and Iranian borders in 2017 witnessed a significant surge by 131 per cent.

Furthermore, security forces and law enforcement agencies killed a total of 524 militants in 2017, compared to 809 in 2016.

According to the report, it was quite likely that the National Internal Security Policy will take into consideration global and regional scenarios, including relations between Pakistan, China and the US.