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Terrorist attacks increased by 9pc, killings by 19pc

06 January, 2014

ISLAMABAD: A downward trend in the number of overall incidents of violence, which had started in 2010 and continued in the two subsequent years, could not persist in 2013.

It took a slight upward curve during the campaign for the 2013 general election and sustained until the year's end. This was revealed in the Pakistan Security Report 2013, produced and recently released by an Islamabad-based research institute—Pak Institute for Peace Studies (PIPS).

According to the PIPS report, militant, nationalist insurgent and violent sectarian groups carried out a total of 1,717 terrorist attacks across Pakistan in 2013, claiming the lives of 2,451 people and causing injuries to another 5,438. As compared to 2012, the number of reported terrorist attacks in Pakistan in 2013 posted a nine percent increase while the number of people killed and injured in these attacks increased by 19 percent and 42 percent, respectively.

The major actor of instability in the country in 2013 was the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). Despite the killing of some of its top leaders in drone attacks and also military operations launched by Pakistani security forces, the operational capabilities of the group remained intact. An alliance of numerous militant groups and commanders, TTP proved lethal in 2013 as it carried out 645 terrorist attacks in 50 districts across the country, claiming the lives of 732 civilians and 425 security forces personnel.

A rise in sectarian violence that started in 2011 continued through 2012 towards the end of 2013. While the overall incidents of sectarian violence, including sectarian-related attacks and clashes, posted a slight increase in 2013 as compared to 2012, the number of people killed and injured in these incidents significantly increased.

The number of suicide attacks across the country rose by 39 percent, with 46 suicide attacks in 2013 compared to 33 in 2012. As many as 18 (39 percent) out of the total suicide attacks in 2013 were recorded in KP, 12 in Fata, 9 in Balochistan, 5 in Sindh and 1 each in Rawalpindi and Azad Kashmir. Of the total, 34 suicide attacks were perpetrated by the TTP and other similar militant groups, 9 were sectarian-related mainly carried out by Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and 1 suicide blast was carried out by nationalist insurgents. Another 2 attacks were carried out in inter-militant clashes.

US drone strikes in Pakistan's tribal areas registered a 31 percent decrease in 2013 compared to the previous year and fatalities in these attacks also fell by 39 percent. Out of 31 reported drone attacks in 2013, as many as 24 struck militants and their hideouts in North Waziristan Agency, in Fata. Five drone strikes were reported in South Waziristan, and one each in Khyber Agency and Hangu, a settled district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The number of overall cross-border attacks and clashes increased in 2013, particularly along Pak-India border (including the Line of Control and the working boundary), but the casualties in these attacks decreased. Most of the cross-border attacks and clashes (68, or 66 percent) were reported from Pakistan's border with India; 26 and 9 attacks, respectively, were reported from Pakistan's borders with Afghanistan and Iran.

On the whole, 103 border attacks and clashes were reported from Pakistan's borders with Afghanistan, India and Iran, which were 30 percent more than such incidents in 2012. As many as 59 Pakistani citizens, including personnel of security forces and civilians lost their lives in these incidents, 82 percent less than the killings in such incidents in 2012.

The incidents of ethno-political violence in Pakistan increased by 22 percent, from 183 in 2012 to 224 in 2013, but the fatalities in these incidents slightly decreased from 288 in 2012 to 283 in 2013.

While most incidents of ethno-political violence in 2013 were concentrated in Karachi (over 81 percent), such incidents were reported from a total of 28 districts in all four provinces of Pakistan. It was apparently due to the May 2013 elections that the ethno-political violence in the country became more complex with increasing number of political parties becoming either part of it or being targeted in politically motivated targeted killings.

Despite a decrease in fatalities in 2013 in the overall incidents of violence, the number of civilians killed in these incidents increased by 16 percent and of civilians injured by 34 percent.However, the number of militants killed in 2013 in overall incidents of violence declined by 28 percent. Fatalities among security forces personnel also modestly decreased, by almost two percent.

Pakistan Security Report 2013 endorsing the establishment of the Cabinet Committee on National Security (CCNS) has recommended expansion in its role from a consultative and decision-making body to implementing and monitoring secretariat of National Security Initiatives (NSI). The PIPS report ratified that CCNS can prove vital initiative for Pakistan to come up with an effective long-term counter terrorism strategy.

End.

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