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CRSS annual report: Violence-related casualties declined in 2018

By Our Correspondent
January 31, 2019

ISLAMABAD: Across Pakistan and across all metrics, violence-related casualties continued to decline in 2018, registering 45% drop from the previous year and 86% drop since 2013, says annual report 2018 of ‘The Center for Research and Security Studies.

According to annual report 2018 of ‘The Center for Research and Security Studies’, if look purely at fatalities from terror attacks and incidents, the number dropped 83% from 4643 in 2013 to 754 in 2018.

This unprecedented drop in violence across the country as the bulk of the success is owed to the extensive kinetic operations conducted across the country.

However, according to annual report 2018 of ‘The Center for Research and Security Studies, while the progress on eliminating terrorism is exceptional, the progress on eliminating its root cause of extremism remains woeful at best.

Two major incidents in 2014 precipitated this decline. The first was a brazen attack on Karachi airport in May, 2014. This resulted in Operation Zarb-e-Azb, a military response to rid the tribal region of FATA of militants, the province of Balochistan of insurgents, and the city of Karachi of urban crime.

Second, terrorist attacked a school in December, in an incident that would leave a permanent mark on the country, killing 135 children and school staff members. In response, the Pakistan government enacted the National Action Plan (NAP), designed to root out terrorism and extremism from the country.

The reports say that this document and subsequent actions provided further impetus to the ongoing operation, and fueled policy changes aimed at improving security.

Between 2013 and 2018, a total of 23754 people died from violence-related incidents. Of these, 13428 perished in terror/insurgent attacks, 8976 in counter-terror/counter-insurgency operations, and 1350 from robberies, drone attacks, and other forms of criminal activities. Sindh suffered the highest number of fatalities and Balochistan the highest number of injuries, despite FATA being the primary theater of militant activity and counter-terror operations.

Sindh casualties are concentrated in the port city of Karachi by a very large margin; in fact, suicide attack and other forms of terrorism combined is a lower number than the number of target killing conducted by gangs and political militants in the city.

Overall there has been 97% reduction in terror attack deaths in Sindh, 86% in KP, 82% in FATA and 60% in Balochistan.

Broadly speaking, the annual report 2018 of The Center for Research and Security Studies victims can be classified into three categories: civilians, security/government officials and militants/insurgents/criminals.

All three groups have witnessed a decline in casualties. However, while the civilians have seen a drop from 72.4% of the total in 2013 to 68.2% in 2018, security officials have seen a steady rise from 14.9% in 2013 to 26.9% in 2018, showcasing the continued sacrificed by the law enforcement agencies. Militants have seen a steady decline as kinetic operations have tightened the noose, dropping from 12.7% in 2013 to 4.9% in 2018.

Purely in terms of kinetics, Pakistan is on a positive trajectory to a secure future, provided the government takes some necessary steps, including strengthening the civilian law enforcement sector, dramatically improving the justice sector and justice delivery, as well as enhanced governance across the board. Pakistan has tremendous momentum and an opportunity to capitalize on its many successes, learn from its many mistakes, and plot a course for a peaceful, prosperous, positive future.

This report of ‘The Center for Research and Security Studies is thus divided into five chapters that include terror attacks, counter-terror operations, comparison of terror and counter-terror operations, drone attacks, and sectarian violence.

Upending the trend from the last several years, Balochistan, not Sindh, emerged as the most troubled province in terms of casualties from violence. Balochistan is followed by KP, Sindh, FATA and Punjab

The combined human loss of life between 2013 and 2018, due to violence and counter-violence operations, is 23754 persons. Of these 56.53% are result of terror attacks and 37.79% of law enforcement operations. The incidents of robberies, drone attacks, and other minor crimes left 1350 people dead, accounting for 5.68%. Terror attacks include suicide bombings, armed attacks, target killings, and planted explosions.

Between 2013 and 2018, 13428 people lost their lives, while 14793 suffered injuries. The highest number of fatalities from these attacks was recorded in the province of Sindh, followed by Balochistan, FATA, KP, Punjab, Islamabad, AJK and GB.

The highest number of terror fatalities was from target killings (6479) followed by suicide attacks (2148), other acts of terrorism (1946), and armed attacks (1,895)

The percentage drop in violence-related fatalities took a dive in 2014, and has been steadily declining since. The highest reduction in violence was observed in Sindh (97%), followed by KP (86%), FATA (82%), Balochistan (60%), Punjab (36%), while Islamabad-AJK-GB combined have 79% drop.