Tackling Daesh threat assuming urgency
Waqar Ahmed


A suicide blast ripped through a large crowd at a political rally in Mastung on Friday, killing more than 130 people. Among the martyred were the younger brother of former Balochistan chief minister Aslam Raisani and Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) candidate, Nawabzada Siraj Raisani, who has been termed as a true Pakistani. The deceased had lost his son Akmal Raisani in a bomb blast in Mastung in July 2011.

The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), General Qamar Javed Bajwa, who immediately flew to Balochistan and attended the funeral prayers of Siraj along with Commander of Southern Command Lt General Asim Saleem, strongly denounced the abhorrent and deplorable attack. He said the country had lost a talented and deserving politician in the shape of Siraj Raisani. “Won’t allow anyone to sabotage democratic activities,” he added. The attack was also condemned by President Mamnoon Hussain and caretaker Prime Minister Justice Nasirul Mulk, who expressed deep grief and sorrow over loss of precious lives in the deadly blast.

Following the unprecedented attack, the caretaker government announced one-day mourning nationwide to pay respect to the lives lost in the recent spate of terror attacks in the country. The Balochistan government had earlier announced two-day mourning in the province.

Earlier, there have been other attacks on political rallies in the country ahead of the polls on July 25.

The evidence collected from the site of the attack and the claim by Daesh in this regard left no doubt who was responsible for the attack. It was the notorious Daesh terror group i.e. its regional affiliate, the Islamic State-Khorasan Province (ISKP).

In recent days, the Daesh issue has been brought vividly to the surface and the new National Internal Security Policy (NISP), approved by the last federal cabinet, has warned: “The emergence of Daesh in close proximity to Pakistan has raised new internal security challenges. The potential for spill over in Pakistan with the support and collaboration of TTP and its offshoots is not a possibility to be ignored. This situation has been compounded by the return of battle-hardened militants from Syria and Iraq.”

The Daesh terrorists have been pouring into Afghanistan from the Middle East in droves with foreign backing. In fact, they have been brought in to destablise Pakistan, Iran and Central Asian States and Russia and China by mounting massive terror attacks.

Worried Afghan officials and lawmakers have admitted to their presence and suggested to prevent the enemy from gaining ground. Hazrat Ali, an Afghan lawmaker and a Wolesi Jirga member from Nangarhar, has admitted that a Daesh military base was operating near the old Customs office in Jalalabad, the capital of eastern Nangarhar province, bordering Pakistan. He has stated the office was supplying weapons and fighters to districts.

Earlier, former Afghan president Karzai had admitted to the presence and nurturing of the deadly terrorist group in his country, saying they were being flown in helicopters.

Meanwhile, according to reports, senior intelligence officials from Iran, Russia, China, and Pakistan have reached an agreement to join efforts against the Daesh terror group in Afghanistan. Becoming more vocal on the subject, they agreed to integrated efforts for rooting out the outfit from Afghanistan, the drive aimed at “ensuring regional peace and to eliminate terrorism from the region.”

In 2017, the fourth report of the UN Secretary-General on the threat posed by Daesh to international peace and security was presented to United Nations Security Council. The report made it clear that as Daesh loses territories in Syria and Iraq, it had shifted focus and has been committing more attacks outside of those states. It emphasised there was still a great need for “sustained, coordinated responses to the grave threat posed by [Daesh] and associated groups and entities” on the national and international level.

Meanwhile, the United States condemned the latest wave of terrorism in Pakistan, dubbing the attacks as cowardly attempts to deprive the Pakistani people of their democratic rights. “The United States strongly condemns this week’s attacks on political candidates and their supporters in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces of Pakistan. These attacks are cowardly attempts to deprive the Pakistani people of their democratic rights,” US Department of State spokesperson Heather Nauert said in a statement. “We grieve with those mourning the victims, and hope for a rapid recovery of those injured. We will continue to stand with the people of Pakistan and the broader South Asia region in their fight against terrorism.”

While the statement was welcomed, the only way to stand with the people of Pakistan and the broader South Asia region in their fight against terrorism is to step up efforts by foreign forces against Daesh, TTP and other such groups in Afghanistan. It is important that the flow of Daesh Takfiris, who are ideologically and fundamentally expansionist in character, should be stopped into Afghanistan as they seem to induce regional instability. The foreign forces in the neighbouring country should tackle them and degrade their capabilities without delay.