Ready or Not they are Coming
Pakistani intelligence agencies have issued warnings to provincial governments and law enforcement agencies about the increasing threat posed by ISIS militants. Recently, a confidential document was leaked, revealing that Pakistani agencies have been sharing information about ISIS (Daish) activities within Pakistan.
According to the document dated October 31st, ISIS has managed to recruit between 10,000 to 12,000 fighters from the Hangu district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the Kurram tribal district in FATA. The letter also mentions that ISIS has extended invitations to banned Islamic organizations such as Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) and Ahl-e-Sunnat Wal Jamat (ASWJ) to collaborate in Pakistan. Both of these organizations, like ISIS, hold anti-Shia ideologies. Furthermore, ISIS (Daish) has established a 10-member Strategic Planning Wing, with intentions to target Pakistani Army installations in the northern regions, where the army is actively combating these terrorists.
Pakistani Military Intelligence has disclosed that there are over 370 ISIS terrorists in Pakistan, with the majority of them establishing strongholds in Karachi and Southern Punjab. Several media outlets have reported an influx of Islamists joining ISIS in Punjab. Shockingly, five high-ranking ISIS commanders have recently relocated from Karachi to Lahore, and all of them are Australian nationals.
Pakistan is currently facing one of the most challenging periods in its history, with religious extremism reaching unprecedented levels. If terrorist organizations like ISIS gain a stronghold in Pakistan, it will have dire consequences for religious minorities and moderate Muslims.
Altaf Hussain, the Chief of MQM, was the lone voice who publicly raised this issue on the same day the report was leaked. A few weeks ago, six top commanders of the Pakistani Taliban announced their allegiance to ISIS. Taliban spokesman Shahidullah Shahid declared that he and five other commanders had accepted the leadership of Al-Baghdadi, the chief of ISIS. Shahid emphasized his commitment to obeying all orders from Abu Bakar Al-Baghdadi by any means necessary.
Shahidullah further stated:
“Mullah Fazlullah will support ISIS, but he still maintains allegiance to Mullah Omer, the chief of the Afghan Taliban, who is aligned with al-Qaeda. On the other hand, my associates and I have embraced Al-Baghdadi’s leadership.”
He also revealed the names of his associates who joined ISIS: Saeed Khan from Orakzai Agency, Daulat Khan from Kurram Agency, Fateh Gul Zaman from Khyber Agency, Mufti Hassan from Peshawar, and Khalid Mansoor from Hangu.
Less than a week after the Taliban commanders declared their loyalty to Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi, another affiliated group of Al-Qaeda, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), announced its association with ISIS. The IMU, led by Usman Ghazi, welcomed Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi’s declaration of a caliphate and congratulated all Muslims on the long-awaited restoration of the Islamic state. As ISIS gains control in major cities in Syria and Iraq, many Pakistani, Afghan, Arab, and Uzbek fighters are contemplating joining their ranks.
In September, John Simpson, the World Affairs Editor of BBC News, reported that fighters from a militant Islamic group in Afghanistan, allied with the Taliban, were considering joining forces with ISIS.
It has also been observed that hundreds of fighters from Pakistan and Afghanistan have joined ISIS via Saudi Arabia. ISIS is gaining global traction in its quest for supremacy in the world of militancy, winning over the hearts and minds of a new generation of militants with its relentless pursuit of the Caliphate, dramatic territorial gains, and relentless propaganda.