Why Does Pakistan Not Crack Down On Its Own Religious Extremists?
This week, a rather affable looking man was indicted by a Federal Grand Jury for attempting to join the Islamic State. Muhammad Masood, a licensed doctor who got his medical degree from Rawalpindi, worked in various posts in Pakistan, till he was accepted as a trainee in the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota in 2018. As it happens, he didn’t stay long. He left the job in March this year, as he readied himself to join the Islamic State (ISIS) in Syria.
Reports of the investigations show his hatred of the country that had given him an opportunity, and his wish to carry out lone wolf attacks in the US itself.
The report didn’t get much traction in the media. For one, COVID-19 dominates news stories. More importantly, arrests of Pakistanis are no longer ‘news’. Pakistanis, or those of Pakistani origin, have long been part of terror plots the world over for anyone to be surprised about it. While a great many countries have had their nationals recruited into the ISIS, no other single country can claim such a global presence in terror plots everywhere and of such diversity.
US & UK’s Trysts With Pakistani Attackers
Take a look. The US has arrested several Pakistanis, including one five months ago, for planning a 'lone wolf' attack in New York. Earlier was the San Bernardino attack described as the 'most lethal attack since 9/11', by a Pakistani couple, who pledged allegiance to the ISIS. Shift to the UK, where in November 2019, Usman Khan of Pakistani origin, was arrested after stabbing 5 in the London Bridge attack that shocked Britain. Khan had spent time in Pakistan with his mother, and had plans to set up a terrorist camp on a plot he owned in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir.
He was earlier arrested together with seven others of the same origin for an organised attempt to stoke terrorism in the UK.
Another eleven Pakistani nationals were reported arrested in 2009, and another one in 2010. Don’t forget the terrible metro bombings of 2005, again linked solidly to Pakistan. Italy broke up a terrorist cell of Pakistanis that was planning to attack the Vatican as part of a 'big jihad' , while a more recent case involved money laundering operations that included funds for the Uri attack in 2016.