ISLAMABAD: Pakistan witnessed a significant reduction in anti-state militant attacks which dropped to the lowest ebb during the past 15 years as 44 per cent decline in suicide attacks was observed during the year 2019 as compared to the year 2018.
“The militant attacks in the country have dropped below the level of 2004, the year when militant attacks had picked up momentum in retaliation to the deployment of regular troops of Pakistan Army in FATA,” said Pakistan Institute for Conflict and Security Studies (PICSS) Director Abdullah Khan while talking to Pakistan Today.
Referring to the PICSS Annual Security Assessment Report for the year 2019, Khan said that the militants carried out 159 attacks during the year 2019 in which 305 people were killed, including 143 security force personnel and 129 civilians.
“In 111 reported security forces actions, 77 militants, seven security forces personnel and four civilians were killed during the year. Overall, 393 people lost their lives, including 150 security forces personnel, 133 civilians and 110 militants, in 270 violent incidents while 687 – 506 civilians and 178 security forces personnel – were injured,” he said.
Khan said that this is the second consecutive year where the human losses of the security forces exceeded the losses of the militants.
“Previously, this pattern was observed only in 2002 and 2003, while 2004 had seen an almost equal share of the losses. As per PICSS Militancy Database, the average of militant attacks per month has further declined in 2019 to 13 attacks per month, which was 19 in 2018, 35 in 2017, 43 in 2016, 59 in 2015 and 134 in 2014,” he added.
He said that the sharp decline in the militant attacks had started after Operation Zarb-e-Azb in 2014 and National Action Plan at the start of 2015. Operation Raddul Fasad has further pushed the militancy to the lowest level since 2003, he added.
“The year 2019 saw a 31 per cent decline in militant attacks, a 48 per cent decline in resultant deaths and a 31 per cent decline in the number of injured in these attacks. April was the deadliest month in which 50 people died in militant attacks while January 2019 witnessed the highest number of militant attacks,” he added.
VIOLENCE IN BALOCHISTAN RISES IN 2019:
Khan said that although Balochistan witnessed the highest number of militant attacks in 2019, a remarkable reduction in anti-state violence was observed in the province during the year under review.
“In 2018, PICSS had recorded 99 militant attacks in the province which has dropped to 66 in 2019 which shows a 34 per cent decline. 171 people died, 427 injured in Balochistan in anti-State militant attacks. Among the dead 89 were civilians, 58 security forces personnel and 24 militants. Among the injured 354 were civilians, 71 security forces personnel and two militants,” he added.
SIGNIFICANT DECLINE IN ERSTWHILE FATA VIOLENCE:
Khan said that erstwhile Federally Administrated Tribal Areas (FATA) saw a 21 per cent decline in anti-state militant attacks, however, a surge in violence in North Waziristan was the most troublesome issue Pakistani security forces faced during the year.
“In the former FATA region, militants carried out 52 attacks during the year in which 64 people were killed, including 45 security forces personnel which is 70 per cent of the total deaths caused by the militant attacks in the former FATA region. 88 people were injured, including 57 security forces personnel and 33 civilians,” he added.
KP REMAINS MORE PEACEFUL:
Khan said that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (excluding former FATA region) witnessed a 25 per cent decline in the militant attacks during the year 2019 as 30 anti-state violent incidents were recorded by PICSS in the province in which 46 people were killed and 101 injured.
“26 out of 46 dead were security forces personnel while 16 were civilians. 79 out of 101 injured were civilians and 21 security forces personnel. No change was observed in anti-state violence in Punjab where five militant attacks were recorded in which 13 people were killed and 42 were injured,” he concluded.