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National

January 7, 2015

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Suicide attacks, sectarian violence dropped to lowest in 2014

ISLAMABAD: Suicide attacks and subsequent killings dropped to the lowest since 2008 that also coincide with the same pattern in sectarian violence whereas Peshawar and Karachi were the worst hit in 2014.
Pakistan Security Report 2014 report released by Pakistan Institute of Peace Studies (PIPS) has found a decline of 30 percent in terrorist attacks as 130 military operations were conducted last year killing 2,530 militants across Pakistan.
The overall number of people killed and injured in suicide and sectarian attacks has also decrease by 30 and 42 percent respectively in the outgoing year.
Other than drawing a map of troubled parts and compiling terrorism incidents, PIPS has also suggested corrective measures emphasising the need of immediate policy initiatives such as better policing, counter-terrorism legislation and a multifold reintegration programme for banned militant and sectarian groups.
The report recommends the establishment of a national dialogue forum with a view to evolving a counter-extremism narrative and strategy, to give the role of coordinating among institutions to the Cabinet Committee on National Security, to launch de-radicalisation programmes at provincial level, to effectively manage Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), and to improve and strengthen the criminal justice system.
In order to neutralise violent extremist tendencies, it has demanded the government of initiating a reintegration scheme such as offering amnesty to banned groups that agree to quit violence inside and outside the country.
The report identifies Balochistan as most critical region in Pakistan where the issue of enforced disappearances and recovery of dead bodies are major impediments for any reconciliation process to be launched in the province.
It has also highlighted the changing composition of terrorist groups will bring new challenges for the law enforcement agencies. Many terrorist groups are preparing to enter another phase of

ideologically and operationally transformed jihadi discourse, and the implications for Pakistan’s internal security are severe. The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is a real and emerging threat for Pakistan and its influence and inspiration is increasing inside the country, it notes.
As far as suicide bombing is concerned, the country was worst hit in 2009 with 87 such attacks that dropped to 26 in 2014. There were 63 suicide attacks in 2008, 87 in 2009, 68 in 2010, 45 in 2011, 33 in 2012, 46 in 2013 and 26 in 2014.
Likewise, sectarian violence peaked in 2013 with 220 such attacks that fell to all-time low (143) in 2014, a comparison of 2009-2014 indicates. As many as 152 sectarian attacks were carried out in 2009, 152 in 2010, 139 in 2011, 208 in 2012, 220 in 2013 and 143 in 2014.
A total of 1,206 terrorist attacks were carried out by militant, nationalist/insurgent and violent sectarian groups in Pakistan in the year 2014 including 26 suicide blasts, which claimed 1,723 lives besides injuring another 3,143.
The report further reveals that 436 of the total reported terrorist attacks (about 36 percent) across Pakistan exclusively targeted security forces and law enforcement agencies. Also, the comparative 30 percent decrease in the number of terrorist attacks reported across Pakistan in 2014 was marked by decreased incidence of terrorist attacks in most regions of Pakistan, except Punjab and Islamabad.
The security forces launched a total of 130 operational strikes against militants in 23 districts and regions of Pakistan, most of them in the North Waziristan and Khyber agencies of Fata, which killed 1,917 militants besides nine civilians, one FC soldier and three army troops.
In all, as many as 2,099 incidents of violence of different types were reported from across Pakistan in 2014, including the terrorist attacks and military operations cited above, as well as incidents of ethno-political violence; drone attacks; inter-tribal, inter-militant and clashes between tribesmen and militants; cross-border attacks and clashes; and abductions by militants and nationalist insurgents etc. A total of 5,308 people were killed and 4,569 injured in these various incidents.
The PIPS report also identifies challenges faced by Pakistan’s internal security during 2014 including critical internal threats such as changing dynamics of terrorist groups amid internal rifts and influence of the ISIS, growing faith-based violence and hatred, cross-border terrorist networks, internally displaced persons, lack of prison security and reforms, changing tactics and targets by the terrorists and illegal weapons etc.

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