Pakistan: Terror attack fatalities drop 30 per cent in 2019, says report

Pakistan: Terror attack fatalities drop 30 per cent in 2019, says report
Representational Image

Islamabad: There were nearly 370 terror attacks in Pakistan in 2019, causing the death of 518 people, according to a report by a think-tank. This is a 30 per cent drop from the 739 fatalities from the nearly 400 terror attacks in 2018, the Center for Research and Security Studies (CRSS) said in its report on Monday.

It said 141 militants were arrested in 2019 including 24 of the Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) and two of the Jamat-ud-Dawa (JuD). One of the causes in bringing militancy under control was the apprehension of the outlaws belonging to various banned outfits during this year, according to the CRSS.

Only two militant outfits — the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) splinter groups and the Islamic State (IS) — claimed responsibility for 12 and one attacks respectively, but their own ranks depleted by nearly 30 per cent.

“Nearly 370 terror attacks were reported during 2019 that left 518 persons dead in the country,” the report said, adding that the civilian fatalities declined by about 36 per cent. Balochistan was the most affected region of militancy and insurgency but the largest drop of 44 per cent in fatalities was also observed in this province.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and tribal region also saw a drop of 44 per cent in violence, while Sindh registered 19 per cent and Punjab 11 per cent.

However, Islamabad saw an uptick in violence, registering seven fatalities in 2019, as opposed to six in 2018. Gilgit-Baltistan showed the most improvement, going from seven fatalities in 2018 to no fatalities this year.

Suicide attacks also declined significantly, dropping from 26 in 2018 to nine this year. These attacks resulted in the loss of life of 295 individuals in 2018, but dropped to 56 in 2019. Although civilians were the most terrorism-affected group, the overall civilian fatalities declined by about 36 per cent.

Government and security officials’ fatalities dropped by 19 per cent while the militants and insurgents had a 30 per cent drop in their fatalities. In 2019, no drone attack was reported as compared to four last year, resulting in the death of 13 militants. This is significant as this marks the first year since 2004 that there have been no drone strikes (as of December 30, 2019).

Only two militant outfits, the TTP and the ISIS, continued claiming responsibilities for terror attacks. ISIS claimed one attack while the TTP and its splinter groups Hizbul Tahrir and Jamat-ul-Ahrar claimed 12 attacks.

Pakistan is facing immense pressure to rein-in militant groups operating from its soil. Paris-based Financial Action Task Force in October put Pakistan on notice, warning that it will be blacklisted if it does not control terror funding by February.

Other arrested militants include 32 from the TTP, 11 from the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, three from the al-Qaeda in the Indian Sub-Continent (AQIS), four from the ISIS, two from the Balochistan Liberation Army and five from the Baloch Republican Army, the report added.