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Islamic State flag seen on Pakistani capital’s key thoroughfare

The black flag, similar to the one used by the Islamic State group, was spotted on a pedestrian overbridge along the Islamabad Expressway on Sunday.

world Updated: Sep 26, 2017 18:43 IST
Imtiaz Ahmad
Imtiaz Ahmad
Hindustan Times, Islamabad
Islamic State flag,Pakistan,terrorism
File photo of a member of the Islamic State waving the group’s black flag.(Reuters)

A flag similar to that of the Islamic State (IS) group was seen flying on a key thoroughfare in the Pakistani capital before it was removed by police after a report from a citizen.

Police removed the black flag, hoisted on a billboard at a pedestrian overbridge in Khanna Pull area of Islamabad by unidentified persons, on Sunday afternoon after Naveed Ahmed Khan, a resident of Dera Ismail Khan, alerted authorities.

Pakistani officials insist the IS has no presence in the country though the group has claimed a string of attacks across the country. It also claimed responsibility for the abduction and killing of two Chinese nationals in June.

Khan, who was taken in by police, said in his statement that he was travelling on the Sixth Road in Islamabad when he saw the flag. He said he recognised the flag as he had seen it on television before.

The flag had "Khilafat is coming" written on it in English, in addition to verses in Arabic.

Taking notice of the matter, interior minister Ahsan Iqbal asked the inspector general of police to file a report.

Police officials told the media they had no clues as to who had put up the flag. They added that a case had been registered under the Anti-Terrorism Act. Police were unable to glean any information from CCTV cameras in the area as they were not functioning.

Over the past few years, reports have circulated of IS leaflets and pamphlets being found in different parts of the country. In January last year, IS leaflets found in a girls’ school in Gujrat city of Punjab province had warned the administration to close down the institution.

In 2014, leaflets calling on people to support the IS were seen in parts of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, while pro-IS slogans were painted on walls in several cities across Pakistan.

First Published: Sep 26, 2017 18:37 IST