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Monday May 27, 2024

Blood-soaked history of terrorism across Pakistan

By Sabir Shah
February 01, 2023
Security personnel and rescue workers prepare to search for the blast victims in the debris of a damaged mosque inside the police headquarters in Peshawar on January 30, 2023. — AFP
Security personnel and rescue workers prepare to search for the blast victims in the debris of a damaged mosque inside the police headquarters in Peshawar on January 30, 2023. — AFP

LAHORE: The recent suicide bombing that took place inside a mosque in the Police Lines area of Peshawar city has now claimed over 100 lives, making it one of the deadliest terrorism-related incidents in country’s history where the death toll has crossed triple digits, research shows.

Here follows the timeline of the blood-soaked terror incidents where 100 or more human lives were lost in the past: On October 18, 2007, an attack on former prime minister Benazir Bhutto’s convoy at Karsaz Road in Karachi had killed 139 people and left more than 450 injured.

Flirting with peril and disregarding all security-related warnings, Benazir had returned home after eight years of self-imposed exile when a bomber struck her procession. She was ultimately assassinated just two months later on December 27 the same year.

Between November 17 and 19, 2007, over 100 people were killed and 168 injured in three days of in-fighting between the rival religious sects residing in the tribal area of Parachinar, Kurram Agency that borders Afghanistan.

Only by the fourth day, the Pakistan Army gained control of the area and a ceasefire was maintained. Between July 31 and August 4, 2008, some 136 people were killed in Swat Valley in a week of clashes between the security forces and pro-Taliban militants. The casualties included at least 94 militants, 14 soldiers and 28 civilians.

Between August 7, 2008 and August 18, 2008, 12 successive days of fighting between the Toori and Bangash tribes in the Kurram Agency had left at least 287 people dead and 373 injured. Some other tribes and some pro-Taliban militants had also taken part in this feud. Local tribesmen had later asked the government to flush out the militants.

On October 10, 2008, a suicide bomber had rammed his car into a meeting of 600 people in the Orakzai Agency, killing at least 110 people and injuring more than 200. The meeting was being held in a ground. The gathering was reportedly discussing to raise a militia to evict Taliban from the region.

On September 11, 2012, more than 260 workers were burnt alive in the garment factory of Messrs Ali Enterprises in Karachi’s Baldia Town. Though most media outlets dubbed this tragedy as the worst industrial disaster in the country’s history, a few have argued over the years that it was terrorism and should be classified as such.

On January 10, 2013, several bombings rocked a Hazara neighbourhood in Quetta, killing 142 people and injuring at least 270. The same day, an explosion in a Tableeghi Jamaat seminary in Swat Valley had killed 30 more people.

On February 16, 2013, at least 110 deaths were recorded after a suicide bomber had attacked a busy market in Quetta. Most of the victims were members of the Hazara community again.

On December 16, 2014, seven gunmen affiliated with the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan had ruthlessly massacred 149 people, including 132 school kids ranging between eight and 18 years of age, at the Army Public School, Peshawar.

The merciless terrorists, all of whom were foreign nationals (one Chechen, three Arabs and two Afghans), had entered the ill-fated school and opened indiscriminate fire on school staff and children.

On July 13, 2018, a blast had made at least 131 people, including Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) candidate Nawabzada Siraj Raisani perished in the town of Mastung.