LAHORE: The year 2010 has proven to be the bloodiest for the people of Pakistan since 2001 as the unending spate of lethal suicide bombings in almost every nook and corner of the country has killed 1,224 innocent Pakistanis and injured 2,157 others in 52 gory attacks between January 1 and December 23, 2010.
Even though the incidents of suicide attacks have gone down to 35 percent this year as against the last year, 2010 still remained the bloodiest one in terms of the number of the people killed by human bombs across Pakistan in a single year since the 9/11 terror attacks in the US and the subsequent decision by the Musharraf regime to join hands with Washington in the war against terror.
The people of Pakistan had to bear a record number of 80 suicide attacks in 2009, killing 1,217 persons and injuring 2,305 others, compared with 52 such assaults in 2010 so far - 28 less - compared with those of the last year, thereby showing a 35 percent decrease in suicide hits this year.
On average, the fanatic human bombs killed 102 persons per month in 2010, compared with the last year’s average of 101 killings a month, hence showing a one percent increase in casualties. Similarly, the bombers, on average, killed more than 23 Pakistanis every week and over three persons every day in 2010. On average, more than four suicide attacks were carried out every month in 2010, compared with six assaults every month by human bombs in 2009. Of the 1,224 Pakistanis who lost their lives in suicide hits in 2010, the number of civilian casualties stood at 605, as against 863 civilians killed during last year, thereby showing 258 less casualties in 2010.
However, the civilian casualties in 2010 still remained 49 percent of the total deaths caused by the suicide bombings this year.
Of the remaining 619 martyrs who lost their lives in suicide attacks this year, 169 belonged to the security forces and the law enforcement agencies. Of them, 62 were policemen, 48 belonged to the armed forces of Pakistan, 26 were the Frontier Constabulary personnel, 12 belonged to the Rangers, nine were the staffers of the Inter Services Intelligence and 12 others belonged to the Khasadar Force.
Hence, the casualties suffered by the law enforcement agencies in the 2010 suicide attacks remain 14 percent of the total deaths - 1,224. Of the remaining 436 Pakistanis killed by the human bombs this year, 151 (or 12 percent of the total killed) were Shia Muslims, 103 (or eight percent of the total casualties) were Ahmedis or Qadianis while 81 (six percent of the total killed) were Barelvi Muslims.
Those killed this year in suicide bombings also included 62 activists of the Awami National Party, 22 activists of the Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan, 12 activists each of the Lashkar-e-Islami and Ansarul-Islam, three American soldiers and two Pakistani journalists.
Of the 1,224 persons who lost their lives in suicide hits this year across Pakistan, the largest number - 416 - were killed in the Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa in 25 attacks - (34 percent of the total dead).
The Fata suffered 12 suicide attacks, killing 381 persons (31 percent of the total killed). In Punjab, the number of those killed was 312 (25 percent of the total dead).
Similarly, four incidents of suicide bombings killed 81 persons in Balochistan (seven percent of the total casualties). Two suicide attacks killed 28 persons in the Sindh (two percent of the total dead) while in Azad Kashmir, six persons were killed in two incidents of suicide bombings.
According to the month-wise break-up of the suicide bombings and the subsequent casualties in 2010, a total of 115 persons were killed in seven attacks in January, 102 persons lost their lives in six incidents in February, 157 more were killed in seven attacks in March, another 155 persons lost their lives in six bombings in April, 118 persons were killed in three suicide hits in May while no such incident took place in June 2010.
In July, 165 Pakistanis were killed in five attacks across Pakistan, 43 persons lost their lives in two such incidents in August, 141 more were killed in five such attacks in September, 25 persons were perished in two suicide hits in October, 96 more lost their lives in five more attacks in November, while 101 more have so far been killed in four such incidents in the first 23 days of December 2010.
It was in the aftermath of the Operation Silence conducted against Lal Masjid clerics that a series of deadly suicide attacks rocked the four provinces of Pakistan as well as Islamabad.
The dangerous trend touched alarming heights in 2007, averaging more than one attack a week as the establishment gradually lost control of the jehadi networks and their leaders which had allegedly been nurtured to advance its geo-strategic agenda.
Terrorism experts say Pakistan has been turned into the suicide bombing capital of the world; especially, in the aftermath of the bloody Operation Silence conducted in the heart of Islamabad, with the security forces, especially the army and the police, frequently being targeted by human bombs, killing 2,801 Pakistanis in 242 such incidents since July 2007.
Look at the casualty figures for the Pakistani security forces since then: over 1,200 members of the security forces and law enforcement agencies had been killed in suicide bombings across Pakistan between July 3, 2007 (the day the Lal Masjid operation was launched) and December 23, 2009.
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 in 2007. The people of Pakistan suffered 252 more deaths in suicide attacks next year — 1217 persons in 2009. However, unfortunately enough, the year 2010 has broken all the previous records of terrorism since 9/11 in terms of the death toll.