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3,433 killed in 215 suicide hits since Lal Masjid operation

02 August, 2010

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LAHORE: Over 3,400 Pakistanis have been killed in more than 200 bloody incidents of suicide attacks carried out in the last three years between July 2007 and July 2010 in the aftermath of the Operation Silence carried out by the Pakistan Army at the Lal Masjid in the heart of Islamabad.

The suicide bombings that rocked the four provinces of Pakistan in the wake of the Lal Masjid episode touched alarming heights in 2007, averaging more than one hit a week as the country’s military and intelligence establishment gradually lost control of the extremist jehadi networks and their leaders. Terrorism experts say Pakistan has been turned into the suicide bombing capital of the world, especially in the aftermath of the Lal Masjid action, with the security forces, especially the Army and the police, frequently being targeted by human bombs. While Benazir Bhutto’s tragic murder on December 27, 2007 in Rawalpindi was the most high-profile suicide attack that year, the people of Pakistan suffered 56 suicide hits between January and December, mostly targeting the security forces.

Figures compiled by the Federal Ministry of Interior show that a total of 3,433 Pakistanis have been killed in 215 incidents of suicide attacks across Pakistan during the last three years since the Lal Masjid action [between July 2007 and July 2010]. The yearly, monthly and weekly average of the suicide attacks across Pakistan remained 71, six and one respectively during July 2007 and July 2010. On average, 1,140 Pakistanis were killed by the human bombs every year while 95 people lost their lives in suicide attacks every month during the same period. The weekly and daily average killings in these attacks stood at 65 and three respectively during the last three years.

Official figures show that 16 people were killed on average in 215 incidents of suicide bombings across Pakistan between [between July 2007 and July 2010]. A total of 847 Pakistanis were killed in 50 suicide attacks in the 12 months of the year 2007. On average, 17 people were killed and four attacks took place every month in 2007. In the next year - 2008 - 965 people lost their lives in 66 incidents of suicide bombings across Pakistan. On average, 14 people lost their lives and five such incidents took place every month in 2008.

A record number of 1,217 Pakistanis were killed by human bombs in 80 suicide attacks carried out during 2009. On average, 15 Pakistanis lost their lives in six suicide attacks every month in 2009. As far as the casualty figures for the year 2010 are concerned, a total of 801 Pakistanis have already lost their lives in 35 suicide hits carried out by Taliban-led militants between January 1 and July 31, showing the highest number of monthly casualty rate since July 2007. On average, 22 Pakistanis have been killed every month in three such attacks in the first seven months of the year 2010. Of the 801 people killed till July 31, 2010, 690 are civilians while 111 others belonged to the security forces. Of them, 55 belonged to the Police, 35 to Pakistan Army, 10 to the Frontier constabulary while the remaining 11 were staffers of the Khasadar Force. Those killed in 2010 in suicide attacks also included three American security forces personnel, 101 Ahmedis, 53 Shias and 51 Barelvis.

Going by the official data, Pakistan witnessed a ten-fold increase in suicide bombings in 2007 as compared to 2006. The year 2007 witnessed 56 suicide hits, killing 837 people, mostly belonging to the law enforcement agencies. In fact, there had been only 12 such attacks all over Pakistan between January 1 and July 3, 2007, killing 75 people. Yet the turning point came with the Operation Silence, which killed hundreds, including dozens of male and female students of two religious seminaries - Jamia Fareedia for boys and Jamia Hafsa for girls, being run by the extremist Ghazi brothers. The rest of 44 suicide attacks took place between July 4 and December 27, 2007 in the wake of the military operation, killing 567 people. Since then, suicide hits have been taking place non-stop in almost every nook and corner of Pakistan, taking the ensuing death toll to new heights every year.

As per the Interior Ministry records, the number of suicide hits rose from 56 in 2007 to 66 in 2008, killing 965 people during that year compared with the 837 people killed by human bombs in 2007. The suicide bombers killed at least 80 people a month on an average in 2008, compared with the previous year’s average of 70 killings a month. Of the 965 people killed by human bombs in 2008, the number of civilian casualties stood at 651, the number of security forces personnel killed was 159, while 155 policemen also lost their lives. The official data shows that on average, 55 civilians, 13 policemen and 13 security forces personnel lost their lives every month in 2008.

But the year 2009 proved to be the bloodiest one for the people of Pakistan since Islamabad had joined hands with Washington in the war on terror. During that year, the human bombs killed 1,217 innocent people in 80 suicide attacks. On average, the bombers killed 101 persons a month in 2009, compared with the previous year’s average of 80 killings a month. Of the 1,217 people who lost their lives in suicide bombings in 2009, the number of civilian casualties stood at 863 while the remaining 354 martyred belonged to the security forces. Of them, 137 belonged to police, 102 were army officers and jawans, 51 were the Frontier Constabulary personnel, 28 were staffers of the Inter Services Intelligence, 22 belonged to the Khasadar Force, 12 belonged to the Pakistan Rangers and two others were employees of the Pakistan Navy. On the average, 72 civilians and 30 security and law enforcement agencies personnel lost their lives every month in 2009 due to suicide bombings.

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