Pakistan afraid of return of its citizens fighting in Syria and other conflict zones
Pakistani intelligence officials have expressed fears that the return of Pakistani nationals fighting in Syria and other conflict zones across the world will further add to the existing sectarian strife in the Islamic Republic.
According to a report in The Dawn, around 650 Pakistani nationals are fighting in Syria and other conflict zones including middle-east, central Asia and Afghanistan.
The report says that Pakistani intelligence officials have identified 132 out of these 650 people.
The intelligence officials are reportedly worried over the return of these Pakistani officials after being defeated by international forces.
They believe that these radicalised elements after gaining experience of fighting in these conflict zones will create further problems for law enforcing agencies in Pakistan as they will add to the sectarian strife in the country.
After the fears expressed by the intelligence agencies, the National Crisis Management Cell (NCMC) of the federal government has reportedly alerted law enforcement agencies to take preventive measures besides tightening security on the borders of the country, especially in Balochistan, KP and the coastal areas, as well as airports.
The Dawn quoted its source in law enforcement agencies as saying that the foreign fighters who suffered heavy losses in Afghanistan, Middle East and Central Asian region would take refuge in Pakistan.
“Fighters of other nationalities, especially those belonging to the Central Asian states, might find Afghanistan as a safe haven. But our own nationals who are fighting in Syria and Iraq would prefer moving back to Pakistan,” he said.
“The return of foreign terrorists to our region has the potential of creating multiple security risks for Pakistan. Their increased strength in Afghanistan would also lead to a new wave of instability in our immediate neighbourhood with the potential of spillover effects into Fata,” he added.