Balochistan faced fewer attacks in 2016, but casualties piled up

A total of 238 people were killed and 517 injured in Balochistan in 183 incidents in 2016

Mohammad Zafar December 20, 2016

QUETTA: Some 153 law enforcement and security officials lost their lives and another 311 sustained injuries in 88 terror attacks catalogued in Balochistan this year.

If civilians are included, the year’s fatality count in the province rises to as much as 238, according to the provincial home department’s report, a copy of which is available with The Express Tribune. Overall, there were a total of 183 terror incidents in the province in 2016. Some 517 people suffered injuries in these attacks.

In 2015, the number of attacks recorded stood at 226. However, fewer people – 202 and 310 – were killed and injured in these attacks.

The report claimed that targeted killings in the province dropped by over 95% in 2016 as around 6 people were killed in two targeted attacks on the Hazara community. Forty-four people had died in such attacks in 2015.

At least 128 bombing attacks were reported across Balochistan in 2016. In 2015, 162 bomb attacks had taken place.  The five major bombings include the January 14 attack on a police team, February 8 attack on the Frontier Corps convoy, August 8 attack on lawyers, October 24 attack on Police Training Centre and November 12 assault on Shah Noorani Shrine in Khuzdar.

According to the report, militants dynamited railway tracks 9 times, damaged gas pipelines and electricity lines once in 2016. Around 18 rocket attacks were reported in 2015.

Talking to The Express Tribune, Balochistan government’s spokesman Anwarul Haq Kakar said Indian and Afghan spy agencies were providing logistical support to banned religious organisations like Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), LeJ Al Almi and Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

Kakar cited examples of recent mass killings in the province including attack on lawyers, attack on the PTC and Shah Noorani blast and said these proscribed outfits were now targeting soft targets

Talking about efforts to curb terror activities, Kakar said the government has carried out 2,000 Intelligence based operations (IBOs) under the National Action Plan.  He said no other province has done so many IBOs to tackle militancy.

“Religious extremism is a big challenge for us and we are fighting against it. We are following standard operating procedures (SOPs) to tackle suicide attacks. “There is a need for improvement in the NAP at the federal and provincial levels,” he added.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 21st, 2016.


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