ISLAMABAD - Army spokesman Major-General Asim Saleem Bajwa has said the national security institutions have been asked to ensure developments in the Middle East do not undermine the country’s ongoing counter-militancy efforts.

“In today’s globalised world, everything has a domino effect. It can spread anywhere and across the world. We are very carefully watching all the developments in the region that we live in or beyond the region, and are taking measures accordingly,” Bajwa told the Voice of America.

“We will make sure that no terrorist carries out terrorist activities within the country and does not use our soil for carrying out any activities elsewhere,” he added.

VOA reported there are signs the Islamic State (IS), a terrorist organization, is making inroads among the militants operating in Pakistan. But security officials say the country is prepared to deal with the threat because of its decade-long counter-militancy experience.

IS pamphlets translated into local languages have been spotted in parts of northwestern Pakistan and Afghan border provinces in recent weeks, prompting concerns the group is seeking to expand its influence to the region.

The US and Pakistani officials play down these reports and say they have yet to authenticate IS footprints in Afghanistan or Pakistan.

While a splinter group of the Pakistani Taliban has announced allegiance to the Islamic State, the al-Qaida-linked anti-Pakistan organisation has not.

This week, a statement from the leader of the Pakistani Taliban, Maulvi Fazlullah, praised the Islamic State battles in Syria and Iraq and promised to help their “Muslim brothers” if they asked for it.

But he reiterated his group’s allegiance remains with the leader of Afghan Taliban, Mullah Omar. He also advised the Islamic State fighters against hastily declaring people infidels and executing them.

Pakistani columnist Zahid Hussain says the Islamic State group, also known as ISIS, has mainly benefited from the chaotic situations and collapsing state structures in Iraq and Syria. He said Pakistan has a robust security structure that has prevented Al-Qaida and Pakistani Taliban or TTP from imposing their extremist ideology on the country.

Critics believe that without developing an effective long-term counterterrorism strategy, countries like Pakistan will remain exposed to interventions by extremist forces like Islamic State militants.

Afghan Ambassador to Pakistan Janan Mosazai said his country is also aware of the disastrous consequences if the Islamic State is able to take root in Afghanistan after international troops leave.  Mosazai underlined the need for enhanced bilateral and regional cooperation to guard against such an eventuality.

“The terrorists recognise each other, work with each other and support each other. In order to defeat them and to save our two countries from this cancerous menace, our security institutions, our armies and our intelligence agencies must be able to come together, otherwise this evil will only get bigger and more dangerous. Look at the situation in the Middle East these days,” Mosazai told VOA.

Ahmer Bilal Soofi, a former Pakistani law minister, said more emphasis should be placed on de-radicalisation.

“The IS phenomenon and their thought process is confined to a hardcore radical group that the moderate Muslims (in Pakistan) do not associate themselves with that at all,” Soofi said.

“The question is how you make sure that IS phenomenon or their radical thought process does not spill over in countries like Pakistan and Afghanistan and other Muslim countries,” he added. “I think the starting point should be to make sure that those who are in jails as inmates in some of these countries are also taken through the process of de-radicalisation as a national strategy because a lot of people that eventually find their way out from the judicial system either through bails or through acquittals are the primary breeding ground for the IS phenomenon and they become one of the major carriers of this thought process.”

Soofi added that Pakistan has detained 3,000 suspected militants in counter-militancy operations around the country over the past many years. But, he stressed, the national judicial system lacks the capacity to expeditiously try and sentence these people. He said Pakistan’s leaders have not yet devised a policy to address the issue.