Although the administration of Pakistan is not ready to accept the fact, the Pakistan Institute for Peace Studies (PIPS) – a local research organisation or think-tank – has mentioned in its latest report that the Islamic State (IS/ISIS/ISIL) militant group is alarmingly increasing its presence in the country. The think-tank said that their defeat in Iraq and Syria prompted the terrorists to find shelter in the South Asian country.

The PIPS further claimed that the outfit carried out six attacks in Pakistan last year in which at least 153 people were killed. It advised the Pakistani government to strengthen security in northern part of Sindh Province and also in Balochistan. In the report, the research organisation clearly mentioned that Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan is still posing the biggest threat to national security, but the IS, too, is on the rise. According to PIPS, the main aim of the outfit is to create instability in the country.

“Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, Jamaat-ul Ahrar and others with similar objectives perpetrated 58% attacks, while 37% and 5% of the attacks were carried out by nationalist insurgents and violent sectarian groups, respectively,” the think-tank stressed while providing an insight into security challenges of Pakistan. PIPS believes that the IS may also encourage foreign powers to create trouble in the country.

Meanwhile, the organisation admitted that there was a 16% decrease in terror attacks in 2017 compared to 2016. However, the country is still not safe. The US has already expressed dissatisfaction over Pakistan’s efforts to counter terrorism. Washington also hinted that it would stop providing military aid to Islamabad. In such a scenario, it seems that PIPS’ report will encourage Islamabad to take actions against terrorists.

In 2017, the IS claimed responsibility for several terror attacks in Balochistan. The outfit was also behind the abduction and killing of two Chinese nationals. PIPS fears that the group may launch more attacks this year, if the administration fails to take proper actions.

As Pakistan is all set to release its National Security Policy, experts have expressed hope that Islamabad will take into account especially global and regional scenarios, including the evolving Pakistan-US ties, while formulating security policies.

Koushik Das, based in the Indian capital of New Delhi, is a senior news editor with more than 15 years of experience. He also runs a blog - Boundless Ocean of Politics. E-Mail: [email protected]