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Recent attacks show resurgence of Sindhi separatists and TTP in Karachi: CRSS report

By Zia Ur Rehman
October 08, 2020

Ranking Karachi with North Waziristan for being atop the list of districts in terms of fatalities from violence, a quarterly security report suggests that Sindhi separatist groups and the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan have reemerged as key violent actors in the metropolis.

The Centre for Research and Security Studies (CRSS), an Islamabad-based security think-tank, has said in its report that the Sindhudesh Revolutionary Army (SRA), a proscribed Sindhi separatist group, remained active during the period and caused two deaths in Karachi -- one of a former law enforcement official in the Sachal neighborhood and another of an activist of the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) in Gulshan-e-Iqbal who was taking part in a pro-Kashmir rally of the party.

In May, the Interior Ministry banned the SRA along with the Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz-Arisar, and the Sindhudesh Liberation Army for their involvement in terror activities in the province. The report focuses on the duration from July to September this year, and has also found a surge in attacks on policemen in Karachi.

Overall, five policemen were killed in Karachi in attacks during the three months. The TTP has claimed the killing of one police officer, Arif Khan, a police constable who was fatally shot in the Korangi area on September 19. However, it is suspected that the TTP is also behind the remaining attacks, the report says.

The CRSS report also considers the attacks on policemen as a sign of the return of the TTP to the city, and says there is a possibility of more attacks after the reunification of its various breakaway factions in September.

Several areas of Karachi, including Manghopir, Sohrab Goth, Ittehad Town and Landhi, had been strongholds of the TTP until the launch of a security operation in September 2013 against violent groups operating in the city.

TTP militants attacked police officers, polio-vaccination medics and workers of various liberal political parties such as the Awami National Party. The report has also found it “quite alarming to see hate-filled sectarian rallies” in Karachi from September 11 to 13.

Rest of the country

A total of 132 fatalities from violence were recorded during the third quarter of 2020 with 162 people injured. Nearly 58 per cent of the total fatalities were recorded in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) (including former Fata), while Balochistan had the next highest number of fatalities (23), followed by Sindh (19), Gilgit-Baltistan (seven), Punjab (six), and Islamabad Capital Territory (one). Punjab and Islamabad appeared to be the least affected by violence, while KP and Balochistan were the worst affected regions of the country.

A marginal drop in violence (five per cent) was observed during this quarter, but the number of wounded persons was higher this quarter compared to the previous one (162 in Q3 versus 46 in

Q2, an increase by over 350 per cent).