Timeline: Daesh in PakistanBy Syed Arfeen
In Iraq and Syria, Daesh is on the back foot, losing fighters as well as the territories it once controlled. As a result, the group has opened up new theatres of operations across the region and claiming devastating attacks in Turkey, Tunisia, Lebanon, France, Belgium, Bangladesh, Philippines, Afghanistan and most recently Pakistan.
Already racked by plethora of terrorist groups since the turn of the millennium, the first breadcrumbs of a trail leading to Daesh in Pakistan appeared in 2014.
Since then, the terrorist organisation has claimed several bomb and gun attacks mostly in the Balochistan and Sindh province. It is still unclear if the group has a direct setup in the country or if it is drawing from an existing pool of militants, often termed by the security authorities as ‘Daesh sympathisers’.
Here, Geo.TV compiles a timeline of incidents and developments in Pakistan, which are linked with Daesh:
The counter terrorism department in Punjab alerts local authorities about the presence of Daesh affiliated militants in the province, plotting to attack media channels in Islamabad.
“Once again, the next safe haven for fleeing militants from Syria and Iraq would be Afghanistan where its presence has already been established. This is a worrisome phenomenon because ultimately they will strike in Pakistan,” cautions a CTD spokesman.
Later that month, the Sindh government places Rs.2 million bounty on the head of Umar. The 35-year-old militant has personally overseen the bus attack as well as the one that killed Sabeen Mahmud. He was arrested in November and convicted to death by a military court.
Two days later, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar rubbishes Sultan’s statement. Nisar at a media gathering says, "Daesh does not exist in Pakistan. Other terrorist groups, which are involved in activities against the state are using Daesh's name and are causing death and destruction in the country.”
A report by the UK-based Royal United Services Institute estimate 7,000 to 8,000 Daesh members based in Afghanistan and 2,000 to 3,000 based in Pakistan, including fighters and support elements.
Punjab’s Law Minister discloses that over a 100 Pakistanis have left the country to join and fight alongside the radical terrorist group with strongholds in the Middle East.
Three women and 12 children from Lahore go missing. Later, one of the women sends a voice note to her husband in Pakistan confirming she and the other women are in Syria, where her son was fighting alongside Daesh militants.