3,667 lives lost to terror in 14 years

Nacta’s database lists K-P as worst-hit province, Karachi as worst-hit city

Qadeer Tanoli December 26, 2016
Relatives mourn outisde Quetta hopsital. PHOTO: AFP

ISLAMABAD: The tide of the Taliban militancy has subsided in Pakistan, though sporadic attacks still take place. Unofficially, the country has suffered tens of thousands of casualties in terrorist attacks since 2002, but an official tally is nowhere near the figures cited unofficially.

As many as 3,667 Pakistanis have been killed and 9,180 wounded in 179 major terror attacks during the last 14 years, according to a database of the National Counter-Terrorism Authority (Nacta). The figures, however, do not include small terror attacks.

The first attack catalogued in the Nacta database took place on February 26, 2002 at a Church in Islamabad’s Diplomatic Enclave in which five people were killed and 42 injured.

Similarly, the last entry in the database is October 24, 2016 when gunmen rampaged through the police training academy in Quetta, killing 61 cadets and injuring many more.

Initially, Nacta was set up in 2009, but its powers and mandate was spelled out in March 2013 under an act of parliament. The authority was toothless until the government revised the national counterterrorism strategy following the methodical killing of 150 students and staff by terrorists at Peshawar’s Army Public School on December 16, 2014.

Subsequently, the government decided to implement a 20-point National Action Plan (NAP) against terrorism. The military, on the other hand, not only intensified Operation Zarb-e-Azb in North Waziristan Agency, the erstwhile nucleus of terrorism, but also decided to expand it to dismantle sleeper cells of terrorists, their abettors and financers in the urban centres of the country.

There have been 39 major reprisal attacks from terrorists since the announcement of NAP. On January 9, 2015, six people were killed and 19 injured in an attack on an Imambargah in Chittian Hattian, Rawalpindi. Since then, 720 people have been killed and 1,761 injured in terrorist attacks, according to Nacta’s database.

Interestingly, the September 11, 2012 blaze at a garments factory in Karachi’s Baldia Town couldn’t make it to the database, though it has been confirmed that it was an arson attack in which around 260 workers had been burnt alive.

According to Nacta, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa is the worst hit among all provinces with 55 attacks, followed by Punjab with 35 attacks. There have been 11 attacks in Fata, while the Islamabad Capital Territory suffered around a dozen attacks during the past 14 years.

Among the cities, Karachi is the worst-hit where 25 major attacks took place. Balochistan, which has been mired in ethnic, religious, militant and separatist violence, has seen around 32 deadly terrorist attacks over the last 14 years.

The Nacta figures are far lesser that those cited unofficially by officials and civil society members who claim that around 70,000 people have been killed in Pakistan in the war against terrorism.

The Justice Qazi Faez Isa-led judicial commission, which was tasked to hold an inquiry into the August 2016 suicide bombing at Quetta’s Civil Hospital, stated in its report that 17,503 terrorist attacks have taken place in Pakistan between January 1, 2001 and October 17, 2016. Of these, 2,878 attacks have taken place in Balochistan.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 26th, 2016.


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