Shortly after Pakistan Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan denied the presence of the Islamic State (IS) in South Asia, particularly Pakistan, Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry has said the militant group poses a serious threat to the country.
“The government is on alert to the IS threat in the region,” Chaudhry said while briefing the Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs Monday, Pakistan Today reported Tuesday.
He said the government has directed all authorities concerned to ensure that no organisation or individual gets in contact with the IS in the country.
A bipartisan parliamentary panel discussed the potential threat posed by the IS to Pakistan amid reports that the ruthless militant outfit was seeking a foothold in the country.
However, Chaudhry clarified Pakistan has no desire to become part of the international coalition against IS.
The government has long denied the presence of the militant group in the country.
“As of now, I can say with confidence that the IS only exists in the Middle East,” Nisar said while speaking at the US Institute of Peace in Washington Thursday.
“It absolutely has no presence in Afghanistan and Pakistan.”
He said that the terrorist space in South Asia was totally occupied, however, if the issues were not addressed, a grand alliance between different groups could not be ruled out in the future.
Last year as well, the interior minister had quashed speculation about the presence of the militant group.
However, wall chalkings in favour of the militant group have earlier appeared in major cities, including Lahore, Quetta and Karachi.
Earlier, splits within the Taliban, and doubts over whether its elusive leader is even alive, were said to be driving a growing number of militant commanders in Afghanistan and Pakistan towards the IS for inspiration.