A spokesman for militant group Jundullah on Wednesday claimed that a delegation from the Islamic State group had visited the organisation’s leaders in Balochistan.
Jundullah spokesman Fahad Marwat said the visit took place this week in the Balochistan province. He said the purpose of visit by the Islamic State group was to see how it could work to unite various Pakistani militant groups.
Jundullah is a branch of Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).
The TTP this week sacked its spokesman for announcing allegiance to the IS, which has captured large swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria and declared a self-styled caliphate, or Islamic empire, in the Middle East.
TTP considers Mullah Mohammad Omar as the Muslims’ leader.
One of the major reasons militant outfits are approaching the IS is due to the splint created within their network after a major military offensive, Zarb-i-Azb, and an intelligence-driven operation, Khyber-I, by the Pakistan’s armed forces in parts of North Waziristan and Federally Administered Tribal Areas.
Jundullah is the same outfit that had claimed responsibility for a deadly suicide attack on the Wagah border in Lahore, where more than 60 people were killed. Another TTP splinter group, Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, had also claimed responsibility for the attack.
Jundullah’s spokesman had also said by telephone that the Wagah-border attack was a reaction to military’s ongoing operation in the tribal region.
Earlier, the provincial government of Balochistan had conveyed a confidential report to the federal government and law enforcement agencies warning of increased footprints of IS, also known by the Arabic acronym Daish, in Pakistan.
“It has been reliably learnt that Daish has offered some elements of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) and Ahl-e-Sunnat Wai Jamat (ASWJ) to join hands in Pakistan. Daish has also formed a ten-member Strategic Planning Wing,” the report from the Home and Tribal Affair Department of Balochistan had said.
The report further stated that the IS plans to attack military installations and government buildings in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in retaliation to the army-led operations and also plans to target members of the Shia community.
The warning had come days after six top commanders of the outlawed TTP, including its now defunct spokesman Shahidullah Shahid, had announced their allegiance to IS’s caliph Abu Bakar Al-Baghdadi.
Moreover, TTP chief for Orakzai Agency Saeed Khan, TTP chief for Kurram Agency Daulat Khan, TTP’s Khyber Agency chief Fateh Gul Zaman, TTP’s Peshawar chief Mufti Hassan and TTP’s Hangu chief Khalid Mansoor had also announced their allegiance to Abu Bakar Al-Baghdadi.
Wall-chalking has also begun to appear in support of IS in some cities of Pakistan, including Karachi and Khanewal.
However, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on Tuesday ruled out the presence of IS in the country. “No organisation of this name exists in Pakistan,” he said while speaking to reporters in Karachi.