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By Farooq Yousaf Published: September 5, 2014

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Welcome to Pakistan
Is the ISIS really in our backyard?
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More than the physical dimensions of ISIS (or any other group), it is the ideological infiltration that we should be worried
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about. PHOTO: AFP
One day, you see shalwar-kameez clad Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) fighters in Iraq and Syria,
and the next day you hear news of their fighters infiltrating Pakistan. Is there any connection?
According to the Foreign Office (FO) of Pakistan there isnt. Obviously.
The FO, on Wednesday, denied reports regarding the presence and infiltration of ISIS, also known as Daesh, in Khyber-
Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) and FATA region. But did this denial ring any surprising bells? After all, the same FO, along with the
authorities, was oblivious to Osama bin Ladens presence in Abbottabad for many years, leave aside the ISIS.
Yet, one has to go with the FOs inclination as the methods used by alleged ISIS members, such as the distribution of
radical literature and wall-chalking, have been previously used in K-P by local criminal elements. These were used to
spread terror and run fake militant franchises to execute their activities, primarily kidnapping for ransom.
The ISIS with their brutal methods and excommunication by al Qaeda has already topped the list of the most feared
terror outfits. A couple of their recent videos, showing the brutal beheading of two US journalists, circulating in the global
media have given them their much desired hype and attention.
For that sole reason, if someone in K-P has been influenced by the ISISs ideology and its modus operandi, it should
somehow worry the locals and the law enforcement agencies.
Literature distributed by this group in Peshawar, parts of FATA, and refugee camps on the outskirts of Peshawar asked
for support of the ISIS; which aims to claim the greater Khorasan region, that is Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Central
Asia.
Photo: Twitter
(Translation from Pashto:
Victory: The Islamic Caliphate is established
Neither have we accepted conspiracy nor insult,
We will either succeed or die as martyrs,
We either wish for a dignified life or an honourable martyrs death.)
Distribution of this literature was also backed by wall-chalking in some parts of K-P, especially Bannu.
Wall Chalking in Bannu in support of ISIS. Photo: Laltain
But for someone like me, having lived most of my life in Peshawar, I would know that such wall-chalking and literature
distribution has become a norm. Yet, overlooking such instances may also pose potential threat if the perpetrators are
willing to use the same methods as the ISIS.
Even if the ISIS has time to spare and make the effort to come all the way down to Pakistan, they may not get an expected
welcome as the local militants consider Mullah Omar or Maulvi Fazlullah as their emir. For these local Taliban, the
fantasy of Abu Bakr alBaghdadi as a caliph may be a bit farfetched. Moreover, Fazlullah, who virtually enjoys a monopoly
over the terror sector of Pakistan, may not be willing to allow a rival in the market.
On the other hand, this may also be rebranding strategy by the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) who seem to have
fizzled out of their terror campaign in wake of Operation Zarb-e-Azab and are now in hiding in Afghanistan striving to
resurface with a new and more brutal brand. But more than the physical dimensions of the ISIS (or any other group), it is
the ideological infiltration that we should be worried about.
A couple of weeks ago during a dinner, here in London, a leader belonging to a famous Pakistani religious party said,
It (beheading of people by the ISIS) is all a US propaganda, they are just oppressed Sunnis fighting
against Assad and Maliki for their lost rights.
Another acquaintance, with a pretty solid educational background, while commenting an anti-ISIS post of mine on
Facebook wrote,
Mujahidin-e-Islam se Qurban. These people are fighting against Batil and a Kafir Tyrant (Assad).
This is how the ISIS and its activities are perceived by many in Pakistan. But then again, the TTP were, and are, also
considered Mujahids fighting for Islam by the same people.
Photo: Twitter
That is where my real fear creeps in. Even without coming to Pakistan, the ISIS has already infiltrated a large section of
our societys mind-set. For their Sunni followers, beheadings are now revenge on satanic-America or the price the infidel
Shiites and Alawites have to pay for inflicting miseries on the Sunnis of the region. If this defence, only on the basis of
difference of ideology, comes from literate sections of the society we know something is seriously wrong deep down. After
all, many among us have also supported the Haqqanis, TTP and the Afghan Taliban in the past.
With the growing wave of radicalisation and a section of youth being disenfranchised; groups like ISIS would remain in
some parts of our society, either physically or ideologically.
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Farooq Yousaf
A research analyst, programme consultant and content editor at the Centre for Research and Security Studies, Islamabad,
along with pursuing his Research Studies in Public Policy from Germany. He tweets as @faruqyusaf
(twitter.com/faruqyusaf)
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mullah lyari 21 hours ago
If you're not aware, according the most recent pew poll, the Taliban are extremely
unpopular among Pakistanis, in fact india is more popular than the Taliban here(in
relative terms).
Most Pakistanis have had enough' we're not Iraq or Syria, they won't succeed here, the
pak army will exterminate them in zarb e azb.

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Reply
WorldView 9 hours ago
The article makes sense, but still you haven't stated the reason for such thoughts of
educated Pakistanis. The education system makes them believe that their religion and
Pakistan is always under threat by america, India and Israel. Some blame it on Zia's era
and military rules. So if isis or alQaeda works against India and in Kashmir, they will
hail them as heroes and rescuer, but when the gun towards Pakistan they would brand
them as agents of america, Israel and India. No one can deny this Pakistani logic.

6


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Parvez 16 hours ago
The ISIS mindset has been around for most of this country's life.We have had regimes
that have pandered to this and now a movement to contain it. How successful this new
phase will be.....only time will tell.

3


Reply
pakistani 10 hours ago
Army has done khidmat of nation in checking the infiltrators and cross border terrorists
and electronic databases is a way that no foreigners militants arrive and welfare
activities job fairs need to be held on regular basis.


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