Still in denial?
Now that the Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) has picked up six suspected Da’ish terrorists from Sialkot and Gujranwala districts, hopefully the interior ministry will be more alive to this growing threat. Ch Nisar has repeatedly, categorically denied any Da’ish presence in Pakistan, even as it has grown in neighbouring Afghanistan – strong enough to give the resurgent Taliban a run for their money in some provinces. Police investigation will now reveal their handlers in other countries and, possibly, other sleeper cells in the country.
It is not surprising that suspected Da’ish terrorists were found with a large cache of arms and money. They are known for their ability to buy terrorist outfits in other countries. Typically, organisations like Da’ish tend to emerge out of nowhere and expand quickly because their methods appeal to groups and countries that fund outfits like al Qaeda, Jabhat al Nusra, TTP, etc. During the Syrian civil war, its brutality seemingly attracted the attention of those financing other groups, and suddenly the bulk of arms and dollars began coming the caliphate’s way. Since then, there has been repeated news of both Pakistanis travelling to the Levant to fight for al Baghdadi, and Da’ish buying off groups inside the country.
The government needs to take this threat very seriously, especially at this particular point in time. The war against terrorism has not yet been won. The Mardan attack was just another tragic reminder that the enemy remains potent. The slightest entry of Da’ish into this theatre of war must be crushed with full force. The interior ministry’s long denial has already cost us precious time since it prevented this development from being preempted. The ministry is also visibly soft on sympathisers of Da’ish, particularly the Lal Masjid in right in the heart of the capital. This attitude must be overcome if Zarb-e-Azb is to come full circle.