LAHORE - Refuting the claims of Intelligence Bureau chief about Daesh, other security agencies of Pakistan have said a recently identified offshoot of a banned outfit is being confused with Daesh or ISIS, a terrorist organisation in Middle East.

Since the action against militancy got pace in the country, main terrorist groups broke down and new groups emerged, like Saut-ul-Ummat - an off shoot of banned Hizbut Tahrir.

Sources told The Nation that Saut-ul-Ummat was being confused with Daesh or ISIS, as well as Tahrir.

Earlier this week, IB Director General Aftab Sultan had told a Senate committee that Daesh was emerging in Pakistan as all other militant groups operating here have soft corner for it. The statement of the IB DG who is an experienced retired police officer and former inspector general of police refuted the claims of Interior Minister Ch Nisar Ali Khan who dually ruled out the presence of Daesh or Islamic State in the country. Mr Sultan also testified before the committee that hundreds of fighters from Pakistan were joining self-styled Islamic State or Daesh in Syria.

“It will not be true calling Daesh an emerging threat. The Ummat ideology is similar to Daesh’s, extreme violence with no room for other sects and other religions and bringing a change overthrowing the current system of governance,” maintained senior security officials who are part of the investigations into the startling claims of Mr Sultan.

Saut-ul-Ummat was in the process of converting the splinter group into an organised outfit when it was blown by country’s premier intelligence agency, while hunt is on to identify other sleeper cells, they added.

Apart from the military-led intelligence service, a civilian anti-terror network also busted some of the members of this new group and was following leads to identify more linkages spread in the country.

Like Tahrir, Ummat’s targeted audience is educated classes and Punjab and Sindh have been identified as the main provinces of their activities, according to the sources.

Its members had been caught from some educational and health providing centres, while some were working as technical professionals in different organisations. The group also advocates overthrowing the existing system with a belief of extreme violence with no opposition.

An analysis of the situation in the light of intelligence operations conducted so far, Hizbul Tahrir, Al-Qaeda and TTP emerged as the banned organisations with their sleeper cells among the population under the name of Saut-ul-Ummat.

This new group has so far found involved in small terror activities including attacks on the media houses. It has contacts with some members of extreme right-wing organizations, who are disenchanted with their current leadership that doesn’t want to adopt the path of violence for change.

Then why would the chief of county’s top civil intelligence agency say something which is not based on reality?

The sources maintained the IB chief’s statement seemed to be blown out of proportion as intelligence information came in several “bits and pieces”, and the possibility remains that the sources who reported about Daesh footprints on Pakistani soil might had no direct access to the people who claimed to be its members. “In our line of business one clue is not enough for preparing actionable intelligence, and we have to check through various sources in addition to our case officers deputed to hunt the anti-state elements,” said a senior intelligence officer, conditioning anonymity.

“This may be the case of report on Daesh by one civilian intelligence service. We cannot call those self-radicalised individuals as Daesh members, let alone believing that the Middle East’s outfit has an operational setup or strong footprints on Pakistani soil,” he added.

The official asserted that no Daesh-supported operation has so far been carried on Pakistani soil even as the outfit is operating from Afghan territory at Pakistan border. “Daesh which is said to be a financially strong outfit has not used its financial sources for terrorist activities even in Afghanistan.

Why the terror outfit is not involving its financial support to the so-called Daesh members in Pakistan if it is so serious in taking over our country,” he argued.

Besides these security agencies, other than IB, Pakistan’s Foreign Office has also ruled the presence of Daesh in the country.

ISPR, the voice of military establishment, too rejected reports in this regard. In a fresh media briefing in Karachi, DG ISPR Lt-Gen Asim Bajwa named Al-Qaeda, TTP and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi as the key organisations carrying out terror operations in Pakistan.