The influx of militants of the Islamic State (IS) into Pakistan was bound to become problematic sooner or later. The fact that the National Coordinator of the National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA) Ihsan Ghani has pointed out the growing threat of IS in the region means that the group has gained significant momentum to be able to conduct its activities in the region. In the last year, the authorities were very vigilant as to negate the presence of IS in Pakistan. However we witnessed two events proving their encroachment.

One incident took place in Islamabad, where despite the safe city project and cameras installed throughout the city to monitor each activity, a flag of IS was put up in the capital. Then a Chinese couple was kidnapped by the IS in Quetta and were subsequently murdered. At that point, the linkages to IS were being kept under the rug to establish that IS was not present in the region.

To an extent, the statement does carry weight. It is not new militants coming into the region, rather the Taliban pledging allegiance to a new brand of extremism now. The authorities need to be extra vigilant in these matters now. We are already under a lot of pressure to prove that we do not host any militants, and are in talks with Afghanistan for cooperation for the peace process. In such circumstances, our intelligence agencies along with law enforcement agencies need to ensure that IS does not grow in influence in the region and should curtail them as much as possible.

Pakistan cannot afford to have another onset of extremism in the region and the best way to deal with this is to devise a strategy when they are only just starting out in the region and snub them before their growth becomes difficult to manage.