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Asia Today ISSN 1861-4604 Monday, January 22, 2018

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ISIS in central Asia: Terrorist group expanded in Pakistan

ISIS in Pakistan

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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - After facing a deadly defeat in the Middle East, the group, once believed to be the world’s most dangerous terrorist outfit - the Islamic State military group, or ISIS is now believed to be spreading its wings in central Asia. 

The Pakistan Security Report 2017, released by the Pakistan Institute for Peace Studies (PIPS), revealed that over the last year, ISIS has claimed responsibility for six of the deadliest attacks in the country that have killed 153 people.

The report noted that the activities of the Islamic State are on the rise in Sindh and Balochistan provinces of Pakistan.

According to the report by the think tank, most of the terror attacks in the country in 2017 were however carried out by the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

PIPS official Muhammad Ismail Khan was quoted as saying, “The ISIS has claimed responsibility for just six terrorist attacks in the country, but they were the most deadliest ones, such as attacks on the convoy of Senate deputy chairman Abdul Ghafoor Haideri, Sehwan shrine, Shah Noorani shrine in Lasbela, Bethel Memorial Methodist Church in Quetta and Dargah Pir Rakhyal Shah in Fatehpur area of Jhal Magsi district and the abduction and killing of two Chinese nationals.”

He added, “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.”

Further, it noted that despite a 16 percent decline in terror attacks in 2017 as compared to the previous year, the TTP and its affiliates posed the strongest threat, followed by separatist groups such as the Balochistan Liberation Army and Balochistan Liberation Front.

The report said that such realities require concerted efforts and a revision of the controversial National Action Plan.

The controversial plan was framed by the government to fight terror after Taliban fighters stormed an army-run school in Peshawar in December 2014 and killed nearly 150 people, most of them children.

The report further stated that militant, nationalist or insurgent and violent sectarian groups carried out 370 terror attacks in 64 districts of Pakistan last year. 

A total of 815 people were killed and 1,736 were injured by these attacks.

However, the report noted that there was a decrease of 16 percent in the number of attacks over the previous year while the number of people killed decreased by 10 percent.

The report further stated that as many as 213, or 58 percent, of these attacks were carried out by the TTP, its affiliates such as Jamaat-ul-Ahrar and other religious militant groups. 

A total of 186 people were killed in these attacks.

According to the report, Separatist groups, mostly in Balochistan, were responsible for 138 attacks, or 37 percent of the total, killing 140 people. 

Further, as many as 19 terror attacks were sectarian-related, in which 71 people were killed and 97 injured.

The report also noted that compared to the figures for 2016, cross-border attacks in the country increased by a daunting 131 percent.

A total of 188 lives were lost and around 348 people were injured in these attacks.

Compared to 809 militants killed by security forces and law enforcement agencies in 2016, a total of 524 militants were killed in 2017.

Ihsan Ghani, the national coordinator of the National Counter-Terrorism Authority (NACTA), revealed in the report that a new counter-extremism policy will be announced later this year.

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