'IS may recruit locals, exploit Pakistan's sectarian divide'

Islamabad, Dec 10: The Pakistan government has realised that the Islamic State (IS) group is a potential threat that could benefit from the changing militant landscape in the country and exploit the sectarian schism by signing up new recruits, media reported on Wednesday.

"It would be dishonest to say IS is not a threat to Pakistan," said National Security Committee Secretary Muhammad Sadiq at the concluding session of a two-day conference which ended on Tuesday, Dawn online reported.


"IS has reportedly contacts with the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and the Afghan Taliban," he added.

It was reported last week that the government has arrested most of the people linked to IS graffiti in various cities.

The wall-chalking campaign and leaflets prompted fears about the terrorist group making inroads in the country.

Nevertheless, IS had attracted militants and sectarian groups because of its successes in Syria and Iraq. Six TTP commanders had in October sworn allegiance to self-anointed caliph Abubakr Baghdadi.

Sadiq said: "IS has not challenged the security scene here, but sees this region as a potential recruitment ground."

He discussed the factors that could help the group in recruiting new fighters.

"With the weakening of TTP after operations in North Waziristan and Khyber Agency and the displacement of Haqqanis, many foot soldiers of terrorism would be looking for new leadership and resources and IS is a natural source of attraction for them," he said.

He expressed fear that Pakistan could be in for big trouble if a more brutal and vicious IS succeeded in replacing the Taliban and Al Qaeda.

The conference, "Flashpoints of the South Asian security - a review of political and security architecture in the Subcontinent", was organised by the Strategic Vision Institute, an Islamabad-based think tank.


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