About 53 Pakistani militants have been killed in Afghanistan and Syria in first three months of 2016.
The Center for Research & Security Studies discloses this in its Quarterly Report for Jan-March 2016. The CRSS, however, did not point out as to how many Pakistani militants were killed in Syria and much many in Afghanistan, and said in 2014, only 14 Pakistani militants were killed in Afghanistan.
According to report, as many as 872 people lost their lives and 573 sustained injuries during this quarter of 2016 in Pakistan. This number does not include 53 Pakistani militants killed in Afghanistan and Syria. FATA remains the region in Pakistan with the most number of casualties (239), followed by Balochistan (181), Punjab (163), Sindh (152), and KP (126).
Suicide attacks, armed attacks, and IED explosions were the only forms of violence that recorded higher number of fatalities during this quarter in comparison with the Q1, 2015. The fatalities from all other forms of violence were significantly lower than the figures recorded in the comparative period.
The overall law and order situation of the country may appear to have deteriorated if we take into account the percentage of combatant fatalities. The fatalities of combatants (militants, criminals, insurgents) were around 68% of the total fatalities during the Q1, 2015. This figure dropped to 54% in Q1, 2016. Conversely, fatalities of non-combatants (civilians, security officials, and government officials) rose from 32% in Q1, 2015 to 46% in Q1, 2016.
The casualties of violence in Balochistan included 260 persons in total (181 dead and 79 injured) during Q1, 2016, a near 20% increase from Q1 (please refer to Tables B1 and B2). A major incident of violence was the suicide attack at the polio office in Quetta on January 14, 2016, that left 12 policemen, 2 civilians, and 1 soldier dead. Although the majority of victims were policemen, one of the claimants of this attack, Jundullah, said that their target was the staff of the polio office itself. The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) also claimed to have carried out this attack. This is expected. As the space for these extremist outfits continues to shrink, competing claims of attacks will emerge.
A total of 239 persons lost their lives in FATA region during this quarter which is a 61% decline in the number of fatalities when compared with the data of Q1, 2015.
No major change in the security situation was observed in Khyber Pukhtunkhwa during this quarter as far as the number of fatalities from violence is concerned. From 133 victims of violence in the Q1, 2015, it came down to 126 in Q1, 2016, a 5.3% decrease. This is despite the fact that January 2016 reported nearly 91% more fatalities than Q1, 2015, owing in part to the attack on Bacha Khan University on January 20, 2016.
An unprecedented rise in militancy was recorded in the province of the Punjab during this quarter with163 persons killed in violent incidents. This is a more than a 100% rise in the number of fatalities compared to Q1, 2015 (please refer to Table P2). The major contributor to this escalation was the suicide attack on Easter Day at Gulshan-e-Iqbal Park on March 27, 2016 leaving 72 persons dead including 29 children, and at least 14 Christians. Moved by this horrifying act of violence, the military extended its operation in the province of Punjab. This was an unprecedented move without civil input that cause some ripples in the civil-military relationship.
Of particular note during this quarter was a significant decline in the number of fatalities reported from the province of Sindh (please refer to Table S1). During the last three years, Sindh province was consistently the most violent province in the country, with Karachi claiming thousands of lives each year.
|Table S1: Casualties from violence in Sindh – Q1, 2016