ISLAMABAD: Pakistan witnessed another annual downturn in militant attacks that resulted in fewer deaths but a surprising increase in the number of people injured.
According to statistics for 2016 issued by the Pakistan Institute for Conflict and Security Studies (PICSS), the country saw 30% decline in militant attacks and 28% decline in resultant deaths. However, there was an unprecedented 24% increase in the number of people injured.
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The average militant attacks per month further dropped in 2016 from 60 to 42. The average number of militant attacks per month before start of Operation Zarb e Azb in June 2014 was 161.
More than 950 people were killed and 1,815 others injured in 500 militant attacks during the year.
The percentage of decline in 2016 was far lower than 2015 when Pakistan had seen an unprecedented decline in militant attacks and resultant deaths due to Operation Zarb e Azb and the National Action Plan (NAP).
The PICSS Militancy Database shows that the anti-state violence in 2016 dropped below the level in 2007, which was the year when Pakistan had seen a sudden surge in militancy after the Lal Masjid operation. However, the number of militant attacks, subsequent deaths and injuries in 2016 remained higher than 2006.
As compared to 2015, no significant reduction in suicide attacks was witnessed in 2016.
The PICSS recorded 16 suicide attacks including attacks on Charsadda local courts, Lahore Gulshan Park, Quetta Civil Hospital, Mohmand Agency’s Friday prayers gathering, Mardan Judicial Complex, and Khuzdar’s Dargah Shah Noorani.
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The legal fraternity was one of the prime targets of suicide attacks and other militant activities as three major suicide attacks – Quetta Civil Hospital Attacks and Chasadda and Mardan Kachehri attacks specifically targeted the lawyers community. The apparent objective was to frighten lawyers and prevent them making court appearances against hardcore militant commanders.
The security situation in Balochistan deteriorated in 2016 as compared to other administrative units. Although the number of militant attacks dropped from 35%, deaths increased by 27% and the number of injured by 121%.
Increase in deaths and injuries was primarily due to three high profile attacks –Civil Hospital attack, Police Training Academy attack and Shah Noorani Shrine attack.
Courtesy : Express Tribune