Monday, 3 November 2014

Is ISIS making inroads in Pakistan?

On Sunday Dawn Pakistan’s leading English newspaper published from Karachi ran a story on signs of emergence of ISIS in the country.  According to details ISIS is attracting the attention of radicals in Pakistan and Afghanistan, unnerving authorities who fear a potential violent contagion. The successes of ISIS play a very dangerous, inspirational role in Pakistan, where more than 200 organizations are operational. A banned outfit the TTP says it broadly support both ISIS militants and Al-Qaeda.
The report also quoted US officials saying the group is generating tens of millions of dollars a month from black market oil sales, ransoms and extortion. This financial heft is proving a big draw — including for the five Pakistani Taliban commanders who announced their support for the ISIS. The splinter groups are facing financial crisis, so they are contacting Daesh, another name for IS. They also say they have sent 1,000 fighters in recent years to help the militant struggle in Syria and plan to send 700 more.
By late evening there was a horrendous blast in which more than 60 people died and over 100 critically injured near Wagah border, the responsibility of which was claimed separately two outfits Jundullah and TTP affiliated Jamaat-ul-Ahrar. Jundullah and TTP are among loosely aligned militant groups that frequently share personnel, tactics and agendas but claims for specific incidents are often hard to verify.
One is completely taken aback by the statement of Rehman Malik, Interior Minister of previous PPP government. He has urged the government to immediately convene a joint session of parliament and share information about Jundullah with the lawmakers. If a person like Malik is not aware of the details, what else can one expect from PML-N government, which is often alleged for having contacts with extremists groups operating in Pakistan? This statement is based on the fact that PPP and ANP came under severe attack but PML-N didn’t during the election campaign.
As Dawn has rightly alarmed ISIS could be serious threat for Pakistan. Although ISIS is a product of the Western super powers, it also draws support from many Muslim countries. It could not have emerged without support from western powers and their regional allies. These facilitated the travel of jihadis from 80 countries into Syria, funded them, and then trained and armed them.
Terrorism is a product of relations of domination. As long as such relations are not addressed, we can see no end to it. ISIS is not an internal phenomenon of Syria and Iraq but an international one. The US, Europe, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and other Persian Gulf Arab regimes are often alleged for creating a monster that is now threatening their interests. All the countries involved in the disaster in Syria through which ISIS has emerged and who are responsible for the present catastrophe need to get together and agree to stop funding and arming the parties involved.
Shiites and Sunnis must know that any action or remark, including insulting one another, leads to increased sensitivities and ignite flames. This will certainly benefit the common enemy of all Muslims. The supposed grand plan hits two birds with one stone: to pit Arab against Arab until they are too weak to face Israel, and to gather the Sunnis against Shiite Iran, foment a sectarian cross-border conflict and encircle Iran.

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