Pakistan says there is no "organized presence" of Islamic State militants in the country, despite comments from the intelligence chief contradicting Islamabad’s line.
"Let me reiterate that there is no organized presence of Daesh in Pakistan," foreign office spokesman Nafees Zakaria told reporters in Islamabad on February 12, using the Arabic acronym for the group.
The comment came a day after Intelligence Bureau director general Aftab Sultan told a parliamentary panel that IS militants were coordinating with militant groups and that hundreds of people had left Pakistan to join its fight in Syria.
There have been reports of increased recruitment by IS militants in Pakistan and a deadly attack linked to the group last year have fueled fears the extremist group is gaining a foot in the country, despite the government rejecting its formal presence.
The presence of IS militants in Pakistan would complicate Islamabad’s fight against domestic Islamist militants fighting to overthrow the government.
Based on reporting by Reuters and Express Tribune