There had been certain news of ISIS presence in Pakistan and after Canadian spy agency’s claim that “the Islamic State (IS) is spreading to Libya, Pakistan and Afghanistan”, CBC News reported. Speaking to the members of Senate Defence Committee, Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) chief Michael Coulombe said although focus has now turned to IS, we must not forget longer-running groups such as the al Qaeda. Among many factors, the Pakistani state’s protracted apathy and inaction on the issue of security has provided non-state actors the spaces to grow and expand their influence. They used these spaces not only to propagate their ideologies and narratives but also to establish’state within the state’ in Pakistan’s tribal areas. Even as counteraction is now underway, the sudden rise of ISIS has threatened to make matters worse for Pakistan.
Soon after pamphlets began appearing, it was reported that ISIS aligned militants launched their first brutal offensive in Afghanistan’s central province of Ghazni alongside Taliban fighters, which left more than 100 people dead. Carrying the black flags of ISIS, they overran several villages, beheaded fifteen family members of local police officers, and burned at least 60 homes. This was a shocking incident to many observers in Afghanistan, as they believed Afghanistan is out of the range and off the agenda of ISIS. ISIS’s encroachment into Pakistan and Afghanistan comes at a time when extremism and the violence waged under such ideology, might be at its peak in both countries. At the same time, political deadlocks caused by the struggle over power combined with the failure of the governments in both countries and the wider region to respond to the legitimate aspirations of their people have significantly undermined the government’s legitimacy in both countries, thus calling into question the very concept of modern nation states. The consistent failure of secular governments in Afghanistan and Pakistan to deliver security, justice, and public services for the citizens has contributed to growing space for extremism and sympathy for alternative forms of government. This state of affairs has turned the environment conducive for acceptance of an alternative, even a hardline Caliphate — which ISIS has proclaimed and promised to impose across the Muslim world. ISIS regularly boasts of its efficiency in delivering justice and public services in their propaganda campaign.
The map released by ISIS shows countries for expansion marked in black across North Africa, into mainland Spain, across the Middle East and into Muslim countries of Central and South Asian region. It depicts exactly the states, which are or once remained under Muslim control. Interestingly, the ISIS map shows both Afghanistan and Pakistan as part of the Islamic caliphate state’s Khurasan province. Al Qaeda and its affiliates believe that the movement for the establishment of the Islamic state of Khurasan will emerge from the region comprising of the Kunar and Nuristan provinces of Afghanistan and Malakand region of Pakistan. Furthermore, Pakistan is quite vulnerable for terrorist entities and it is country that has nukes. ISIS is quite aware that its dream of Caliphate can only come true if it succeeds in taking control over Pakistan. Though there are refute-less proves of ISIS presence in Pakistan, Political and Military leadership is constantly denying.