Islamabad: Pakistani security agencies have warned the government about the increasing threat of the dreaded Islamic State (IS) militant group, a media report said today.
A classified report by the provincial government of Balochistan conveyed to the federal government and law enforcement agencies warning of increased footprints of the Middle Eastern terrorist group, also known by its Arabic acronym of "Daish".
The Dawn reported on its website that the 'secret information report' dated October 31 states that IS has claimed to have recruited a massive 10,000 to 12,000 followers from the Hangu district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Kurram tribal district.
"It has been reliably learnt that Daish has offered some elements of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) and Ahl-e-Sunnat Wal Jamat (ASWJ) to join hands in Pakistan. Daish has also formed a 10-member Strategic Planning Wing," the report from the Home and Tribal Affairs Department of Balochistan says.
LeJ and ASWJ are anti-Shia groups of Sunni Muslims.
The report states that the IS plans to attack military installations and government buildings in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in retaliation to the army-led Operation Zarb-i-Azb in North Waziristan and also plans to target members of the minority Shia community.
The Balochistan government called for heightened vigilance and security measures in the province as well as the northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to prevent and preempt such attacks.
It has moreover called for sensitising law enforcement agencies on the issue and an increased monitoring of LeJ members.
The warning comes days after six commanders of the outlawed Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), including its now defunct spokesman Shahidullah Shahid, announced their allegiance to the IS, last month.
The Islamic State's presence has not been officially established so far.
The report by the security agency supports the views of Altaf Hussain, chief of Mutthida Qaumi Movement (MQM), the Karachi-based Muhajir party, who last month said that IS was slowly spreading in the country and posed a threat.
Security expert Ejaz Hussain believes that Pakistan faces a perceived threat from the IS but it can mature into a real threat if they succeed in aligning themselves with the splinter groups of mainstream militants groups, including the TTP.
"If the Pakistan security apparatus fails to check their footprints, it could be a setback for them in future. It appears that the IS wants to focus on Pakistan and Afghanistan, particularly the time when US forces begin to withdraw from Afghanistan. If not checked, IS will pose a major threat to South Asia and the Persian Gulf," Hussain told the Dawn.