ISLAMABAD: Despite a 16 per cent decline in terror attacks in 2017, the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and its associated groups continue to remain a potent threat for the country.
According to the Pakistan Institute for Peace Studies (PIPS) security report, the second most potent threat were the nationalist-insurgent groups, especially Balochistan Liberation Army and Balochistan Liberation Front.
The report also noted the alarming increase in the footprint of Da’ish, especially in Balochistan and northern Sindh as it carried out the deadliest attacks in those provinces.
The Islamabad-based think-tank specialising in security and conflict dynamics of Pakistan and the region, compiled its findings on the basis of its multi-source database, coupled with interviews and articles by subject experts.
The report tallied that militant, nationalist/insurgent and violent sectarian groups carried out 370 terrorist attacks in 64 districts during the year 2017 – including 24 suicide and gun-and-suicide coordinated attacks, killing 815 people, besides injuring 1,736.
These attacks posted a 16 per cent decrease from the total in the previous year; even the number of people killed fell by 10 per cent.
Of these attacks, as many as 213, or 58 per cent, were perpetrated by TTP and its splinter groups mainly Jamaatul Ahrar and other militant groups espousing similar objectives. These attacks resulted in the deaths of 186 people.
Meanwhile, nationalist insurgent groups, mostly in Balochistan and a few in Sindh, carried out 138 attacks, or 37 per cent of the total attacks, killing 140 people. On the other hand, as many as 19 terrorist attacks were sectarian-related which killed 71 people and inflicted injuries on 97 others.
The report also noted that compared to 2016, a significant surge of 131 per cent was witnessed during 2017 in cross-border attacks from Pakistan’s borders with Afghanistan, India and Iran. A total of 171 cross-border attacks claimed 188 lives and left 348 others injured.
Furthermore, security forces and law enforcement agencies killed a total of 524 militants in 2017 – compared to 809 in 2016 – in 75 operations as well as 68 armed clashes and encounters with the militants reported from across the four provinces and Fata.
An interview with National Security Adviser, Lt General (retd) Nasser Khan Janjua, in the report, reveals that National Security Policy has been documented and circulated internally in the government which will be launched in 2018.