Over a dozen Pakistanis join Daesh in Syria

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ISLAMABAD: Maria Bibi, 19, started chatting by Facebook first and then moved to call on Telegram with a commander of ultra-extremist militant group, the Islamic State (IS), generally known as Daesh, in Syria earlier this year.

She has been watching videos of IS fighters on internet and then slowly but gradually convinced by a Syria based Daesh commander Qari Abid to wage ‘jihad’ with her husband. Following the teachings of Qari Abid, she finally convinced her young husband Tanzeel Ahmed, 17, to join the Daesh fighters in Syria last month. After embracing caliphate of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi through Qari Abid on Facebook, the young couple planned their trip for Syria via Iran and Turkey.

“She [Maria] is just one of 14 Pakistanis who have joined IS/Daesh in Syria and Afghanistan [last month],” revealed a three-page highly confidential report prepared by law enforcing agencies assigned to eliminate footprints of Daesh in Pakistan.

Shocking revelations were collected from a dozen militants of Daesh who were arrested by law enforcement agencies in Lahore last week. It happened at a time the Pakistani authorities claimed that there was no such support for the IS in the country.

“Daesh commander Qari Abid through agents in Pakistan, Turkey and Afghanistan used social media [Facebook and Telegram channels] to convince young people to join IS,” revealed the secret report.

Qari Abid, through his nephew Nabeel Ahmed, alias Abu Abdullah [in Pakistan], funded the militants who wanted to fight in Syria, the report revealed. Then Nabeel Ahmed had a contact with another Daesh Commander Shahzeb in Turkey who put himself in touch with likeminded people in Pakistan to travel to Turkey via Iran (mostly as pilgrims to Shia holy sites) and through there to Turkey.

Qari Abid has had a network of agents in Turkey and Iran, who helped these militants cross into Syria. Some of them travelled to Jalalabad, where Nabeel’s younger brother Tanzeel Ahmed and his cousin Muhammad Yasin alias Imran were their handlers. Yasin and Tanzeel were already there with their families and kids and carrying out attacks in Afghanistan with the IS fighters. The Daesh fighters had already carried out many robberies in Punjab and kidnappings of Shias to raise funds, revealed the report.

Official documents also revealed Qari Abid of Badami Bagh, Hameed Ahmed of Makhan Pura and Hafiz Umer of Shad Bagh left Lahore to join Daesh in Syria. Later, Tayyeb alias Abu Ahmed of Islamabad, Hafiz Tanveer and Abdullah Attique of Sialkot city and Abdul Azeem also left for Syria. Those militants who joined Daesh in Afghanistan are: Tanzeel Ahmed of Cantonment Area, Lahore, Zarmina Tanzeel of Lahore, Yasin alias Imran of Gujranwala, Samia wife of Yasin, Tahir Bhatti from Sialkot city and Ibrahim Lahori from Lahore travelled to Afghanistan.

Officials of the Counter Terrorism Department in Punjab not only confirmed that these militants had joined Daesh in Syria and Afghanistan but also revealed they got the information from activists of Daesh who were about to leave for Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan last week. The Punjab CTD arrested the eight-member group of Nabeel alias Abu Abdullah alias Irtat by detecting them through social media in Lahore, also killing a Daesh commander in Rawalpindi Division last week. “We’ve arrested over a dozen militants who were traveling abroad to join hands with the IS,” a senior CTD official told the newsmen

“We’ve recovered weapons, literature of IS, stickers against Pakistan Army, laptops with IS videos and literature from their possession, which they were using for recruiting more young people and enhancing their capabilities,” the official, who did not want to be named, further revealed.

The arrested Daesh fighters belonged to the heart of Lahore. They are: Nabeel Ahmed alias Abu Abdullah and his wife Khadeeja Bibi, Abdullah Dar, Muhammad Iqbal his wife Raqia Bano and daughter Iqra Iqbal, Yousaf al Islam, Badr-ul-Islam and Abu Bakkar alias Sarmad and his wife Aqsa, Haq Nawaz, Hafiz Raheel, Muhammad Anwar, Javeria wife of Tayyeb alias Abu Ahmed and Amna Bibi wife of Qari Abid. Apart from these arrested people, there are dozens of other men and women in the cell who are being traced.