The military is busy conducting operations against militants for quite a long time now; the menace of terrorism is yet to be solved. Boasting about military’s gains against terrorists, Director General of the Inter-Services Public Relations (DG ISPR), Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor, in his latest press conference denied the existence of any terrorist group’s operation cells inside the country. However, the blast in Jhal Magsi district of Balochistan on the very same day suggests that we not take his words seriously. Despite crackdowns and comb operations, organizations as diverse as Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), Thereek Taliban Pakistan (TTP), and Islamic State (IS) have targeted different cities this year.

While it is true that terrorist attacks have declined because of military’s successful operations, by no streach of the imagination can it be said that the terrorists have been expelled from the country. That fact was on full display after the suicide attack on the shrine of Pir Rakhel Shah in Fatehpur, a town of Jhal Magsi district this Thursday.

While the Director General of the Inter-Services Public Relations, Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor, (DG ISPR), is in the state of denial regarding the presence of Islamic State for some time now, others are not. Various people have expressed their fears about IS gaining sympathy and recruitment from different parts of the country. ISIS has claimed responsibility for the latest blast that has claimed the lives of 20 innocents including one security official and three children. Only recently, individuals have reported instances where the flags, and pamphlets replete with the myopic worldview of the organization.

It is important to consider the fact that in the result of military operations against religious extremism, these extremist organizations are continually evolving. In this, they are one step ahead of security establishment of the country. It is important to recall here that the activities of IS were reported for the first time in the year 2014 against the backdrop of operations against TTP in two agencies of Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), i.e., North Waziristan and Khyber Agency.

What is needed is to acknowledge the presence of the organization and stop deluding ourselves about the efficacy of our operations. It is about time that military gives up the fiction of “no IS in Pakistan”. It needs to get its head out of the sand and act swiftly in nipping the evil in the bud