LEJ Chief Was Set To Join ISIS: Pak

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ISLAMABAD: Claims are reverberating within Pakistan about accelerated efforts in recent months by the Islamic State (IS), also known as Da’ish, to gain a foothold in the country. Authorities have even arrested some local militants believed to be linked with the Middle Eastern extremist group.
But the biggest and perhaps more potent threat from
IS was yet to come until security agencies in July this year discovered that Malik Ishaq, the co-founder of the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) sectarian extremist group, was all set to formally join Da’ish just days before he was killed in a police encounter in southern Punjab.
Ishaq, accused of being behind sectarian killings and attacks, was killed along with 13 others including his two sons on July 29 in a firefight when his loyalists attacked a police convoy in Muzaffargarh.
There were reports that the LeJ chief was in contact with Da’ish but the extent of his involvement with the ultra-extremist group has never been told before. A security official with the knowledge of the development told The Express Tribune that Ishaq was to become the chief of IS in Pakistan.
“Some material such as flags and pamphlets showing allegiance to Da’ish was confiscated from them [LeJ supporters],” said the official, who requested not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the issue.
The potential threat posed by IS through local extremist outfits such as the LeJ then prompted the federal government to ban the group in Pakistan. The move was aimed at giving a legal arm to the police and security agencies to act swiftly against any individual or group that may attempt to join hands with Da’ish.
“The killing of Ishaq was no less than a coup against the possible emergence of Da’ish in the country,” remarked another official.
Ishaq was known to have developed close links with al Qaeda and was accused of some of the deadliest attacks in Pakistan, such as the 2009 assault on the Sri Lankan team in Lahore.

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