Terror fatalities in Pakistan declined by 31% with no drone strike in 2019: Report

Hamid Khan Wazir

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: In what appears to be a good news for the countrymen as a drastic decline has been witnessed in terror and counter-terror related fatalities in Pakistan in the outgoing year 2019 in which 30.71% drop in fatalities was observed, which speaks volume of improvement in the Country’s security situation.

However, this is also quite significant as this marked the first year (2019) since 2004 that there have been no drone strikes in Pakistan in the outgoing year, the Dispatch News Desk (DND) news agency reported.

According to the Annual Security Report 2019 released by the Center for Research and Security Studies (CRSS) showed that nearly 31% reduction in terror and counter-terror related fatalities has been reported in 2019, dropping from 980 in 2018 to 679 in 2019.

But most importantly, the report showed that the largest drop in fatalities was observed in Balochistan (44.2%) followed by erstwhile Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) (39%), which remained the most volatile and restive areas.

The data showed that only two militant outfits, Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) splinter groups and the Islamic State (IS), claimed responsibility for 12 and 1 attacks respectively, but their own ranks depleted by nearly 30%, while civilian fatalities declined by about 36%.

According to the report, a 30.71% drop in fatalities was observed in 2019, declining from 980 in 2018 to 679 in 2019. If the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province and the former FATA are counted as separate regions, Balochistan still remains most affected of militancy and insurgency. The largest drop in fatalities was observed in Balochistan (44.2%), as a total of 405 fatalities were reported in 2018 as compared to 226 in 2019. Similarly, 39% drop in fatalities was observed in erstwhile FATA, as 192 fatalities were reported in 2018 as compared to 117 in 2019.

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518 persons killed in Pakistan in nearly 370 terror attacks in 2019

The report showed that the drop in fatalities was observed in Sindh (19%), and Punjab (11.8%), in KP 5% while no fatality reported in Gilgit-Baltistan in the out-going year

The report indicated that nearly 370 terror attacks were reported during 2019 that left 518 persons dead in the Country. As mentioned above, this is a 30% drop from the 739 fatalities from the nearly 400 terror attacks in 2018. Suicide-attacks also declined significantly this year, dropping from 26 in 2018 to 9 in 2019. These attacks also resulted in the loss of life of 295 individuals in 2018, but dropped to 56 persons in 2019.

The report showed although civilians were the most terrorism-affected group, the overall civilian fatalities declined by about 36%. The government and security officials’ fatalities were dropped by 19% while the militants and insurgents had a 30% drop in their fatalities.

In 2018, four drone strikes killed 13 militants in Pakistan

In 2019, no drone strike was carried out in Pakistan as compared to four drone attacks last year resulting in death of 13 militants. This is quite significant, as this marks the first year since 2004 that there have been no drone strikes in 2019.

According to the report, only two militant outfits TTP and the IS continued claiming responsibilities for terror attacks. However, the number of these attacks and associated fatalities dropped significantly. The IS claimed a single attack while TTP and its splinter groups Hizbul Tahrir and Jamat-ul-Ahrar (JuA) claimed 12 attacks.

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One of the causes in bringing militancy under control was the apprehension of the outlaws belonging to various banned outfits during this year. Of the 141 militants arrested, 32 were TTP, 11 were Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, 3 were Al-Qaeda in the Indian Sub-Continent (AQIS), 4 were IS, 2 were Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA), and 5 of Baloch Republican Army (BRA). In addition, 24 militants belonging to Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) and 2 from Jamat-ud-Dawa (JuD) were also arrested.