Islamabad, Jan 4: At least 42 militants allegedly linked to Islamic State group have been arrested in Pakistan's Punjab province as part of a campaign to "wipe the threat of IS" from the country, officials said today.
The arrests were made during a series of raids by counter-terrorism officials to nab the alleged supporters and activists of the dreaded terrorist group in Pakistan.
Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah told reporters that the weekend swoop targeted four districts of the province. Sanaullah said senior IS operatives were among those arrested, including Islamabad chief Amir Mansoor, his deputy Abdullah Mansoori and chief for Sindh province Umer Kathio.
A senior police official from Lahore confirmed the arrests. "The arrests are part of campaign to wipe the threat of IS from Pakistan," he said.
The authorities confiscated hate literature, propaganda material and weapons during the raids at a hideout of the militants. Police began their raids after they busted a group of IS supporters in Daska and Sialkot districts of Punjab province last week, which provided vital clues about the activities of the group in Pakistan.
Pakistan has officially denied the presence of IS in the country, but secretly it has been neutralising militants who have either shifted their allegiance from the Taliban to the IS or have shown inclination to support the group.