Lahore: About 100 Pakistanis, including women, have travelled to Syria and Iraq to join the Islamic State since the rise of the dreaded terror group in the Middle East, a minister in the provincial Punjab government said here.
"Some 100 Pakistanis including women have left the country for Syria and Iraq to join the ISIS since the rise of the militant group in the Middle East," Punjab province Law Minister Rana Sanaullah said.
"The government is doing its best to stop the recruitment for the ISIS," the minister said, adding that eight activists of the group were arrested from Sialkot district of Punjab and they are still associated with the Jamaat-ud-Dawah.
He said the government would not let the ISIS to have their foothold in Pakistan. Earlier, the law enforcement agencies arrested over 40 people, including women, over their alleged linkage to ISIS.
The arrests were made during a series of raids by counter-terrorism officials to nab the alleged supporters and activists of the Middle Eastern terrorist group in Pakistan. Rana Sanaullah said top ISIS operatives were among those arrested, including Islamabad chief Amir Mansoor, his deputy Abdullah Mansoori and chief for Sindh province Umer Kathio.
Pakistan has officially denied the presence of ISIS in the country, but secretly it has been neutralising militants who have either shifted their allegiance from the Taliban to the ISIS or have shown inclination to support the group. Meanwhile, Lahore police arrested three recruiters of ISIS from Sham Nagar.
A police source said the law enforcement agencies raided a house in Sham Nagar and arrested Dr Usman Malik, Ahsan Siddique and one unidentified man and recovered hate literature, propaganda material and a laptop.
He said the three 'ISIS members' were recruiting people for Jihad in Syria. They have been shifted to undisclosed location for interrogation.