Posters, stickers and wall-chalking supporting Islamic State terror group have appeared some 15 kilometres from Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's Lahore farmhouse, prompting authorities to launch a probe into the possible presence of the dreaded militant outfit in the city.
The Lahore police have launched a search operation and took some suspects into custody after the display of IS posters and stickers inscribing 'Ummah of Khilafat Mubarik' in Nawab Town and Thokar Niaz Baig, some 15 kilometres from the Raiwind residence of Sharif.
The wall chalking in favour of IS also appeared in Hunjerwal and Canal Road in Lahore.
Police have registered an FIR against "unknown persons" for wall chalking and display of posters and stickers carrying the message and name of IS in different parts of city.
"We have registered a case against elements involved in wall chalking and display of posters of IS in the city. The police along with other agencies have been launched investigation into the matter to find out those behind it," Deputy Inspector General Punjab Police Haider Ashraf told PTI.
"We have no such confirmation as yet but we are looking for all aspects in this respect," Ashraf said, while answering a question on the presence of IS in Lahore and Punjab province.
However, an official in an intelligence agency told PTI that elements of Tahreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, Sipaha-e-Sahab, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and some other Sunni splinters groups might be involved in this.
"Such groups are always looking for new identity. Since the name of IS has become an element of terror for both the law enforcement agencies and the people, such banned religious organisations may go for it," the official said, adding this activity may further pick up in coming days.
Last week, the wall-chalking carrying the name of IS had first appeared in Khanewal district of Punjab province, some 400 kilometres from here, sending a clear signal about the presence of the groups who want to join hands with the IS.
Lahore police chief Amin Wains said that wall-chalking like "Daesh/IS zindabad" was first witnessed in Lahore some 10 days ago.
"We have not yet received any official acknowledgement about the presence of IS elements from any provincial or federal government agency however there is a strong possibility that some locals may be involved in the activity."
Punjab province Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has directed Punjab IGP Mushtaq Sukhera to thoroughly investigate the matter.
Mutahidda Quami Movement chief Altaf Hussain has already declared presence of IS in Karachi.
He has warned the government not to take the IS threat lightly.