Islamabad, Jan 8: Negating the Pakistan government's stand that the Islamic State has no presence in the country, a leading think-tank has warned that the dreaded terror group is alarmingly increasing its foothold in Pakistan.
The security report by Pakistan Institute for Peace Studies (PIPS) yesterday stated that the IS, especially active in northern Sindh and Balochistan, was also behind the abduction and killing of two Chinese nationals last year, Dawn News reported.
The PIPS shared the findings of its security analysis titled Special Report 2017, providing an insight into security challenges of Pakistan. Pakistan has been denying that ISIS had an organised presence in the country, however, even though the terrorist group has claimed responsibility for several attacks in the restive Balochistan province in recent years.
"Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Jamaatul Ahrar and others with similar objectives perpetrated 58 per cent attacks, while 37 per cent and 5 per cent of the attacks were carried out by nationalist insurgents and violent sectarian groups respectively," it said.
The report has also highlighted that Baloch nationalist- insurgent groups, especially Balochistan Liberation Army and Balochistan Liberation Front were only second to TTP as far as the their threat capability was concerned. The report also noted the alarming increase in the footprint of ISIS, especially in Balochistan and northern Sindh as it carried out the deadliest attacks in those provinces. It said that footprints of ISIS was increasing and it "killed 153 in 6 deadliest attacks".
It said "down 16 per cent from the year before, 370 terrorist attacks took place in Pakistan (in 2017), killing 815 and injuring 1,736 people." It said that Balochistan and tribal region remained critical areas with 288 and 253 terrorism-related killings, respectively, in 2017. It also reported that Pakistan's National Security Policy is set to be released in 2018 and it will take into account especially global and regional scenarios, including the evolving Pakistan-US relations.
The report also noted that compared to 2016, a significant surge of 131 per cent was witnessed during 2017 in cross-border attacks from Pakistan's borders with Afghanistan, India and Iran. A total of 171 cross-border attacks claimed 188 lives and injured 348 others. Security forces and law enforcement agencies also killed 524 militants in 2017 compared to 809 in 2016 in 75 military/security operations as well as 68 and encounters with militants reported from across four provinces and FATA.