Pakistan has been marred by terrorism for the last couple of decades. A number of reasons were responsible for the decaying law and order situation in Pakistan including the war against terrorism in Afghanistan, internal issues as well as international meddling. All these factors have played a negative role.
Since 2001, the most important incident in Pakistan took place in October, 2006, “Damadola Incident” (was termed as 9/11 of Pakistan), in which around 69 children among 8o civilian died in an American drone attack, embarrassing the Pakistani State, resulting in fifteen-fold increase in the number of terrorist attacks within Pakistan. In 2007, Lal Masjid Operation resulted in creation of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) which wreaked havoc all over Pakistan. It led to significant loss of life & property. A sharp surge in the number & severity of militant attacks was witnessed, causing loss of more than two thousand precious lives, rendering more than three & half thousand individuals injured in different attacks.
In 2009, military operation in Swat was conducted to clear militants from Malakand region. This was the time when maximum casualties were recorded followed by displacement of large number of population due to the operation. The years 2012 and 2013 were turbulent for border regions of FATA as well as for Balochistan. Violence increased in Karachi. In 2014, Military Operation Zarb-e-Azb was launched to eliminate militancy especially from North Waziristan Agency and also the country as a whole. The operation was progressing at its pace when the Army Public School (APS) incident took place where large number of children were martyred by militants. In the immediate aftermath of this horrendous tragedy, claimed by TTP, ‘National Action Plan (NAP)’ was unanimously approved by the Government after calling an All Parties Conference. Operation Zarb-e-Azb and NAP (2014 onward) had a salutary effect on the security situation of the country, which is depicted below:
The above worm clearly shows that starting from 2001, as post effect of 9/11 incident, terrorism impact and losses reached its peak in 2010, gulping 2061 precious lives (in 2010) and then took a nosedive in 2014, as a result of Operation Zarb-e-Azb and NAP. In 2015 terrorism incidents declined up to 45 % (US State Department). Terrorism incidents declined from an average of almost 5/ day (2014) to almost 1/ day (2017).
A comparative statement of 10-most affected countries for year 2014/ 2015 is given below, that corroborates the success in Pakistan’s success against terrorism.
This table shows that a 45% decrease in terrorists attack, 39% in deaths and 54% decrease in injuries was noted from 2014 to 2015. Whereas, in Afghanistan and Bangladesh situation aggravated resulting in increase of 7% in attacks, 12% in deaths and 13 % in injuries in respect of Afghanistan. In Bangladesh 370% increase in attacks, 250% in deaths and 646% increase in injuries was noted. While in India an increase of 3.5 % in terrorist attacks was registered, however, number of deaths reduced by 31% and injuries by 21%.
The financial loss since war on terrorism initiated in 2001 has also declined in 1st 5 years of running decade, as shown below:
|Estimated Losses 2001-2015|
|Estimated on the basis of 9 Months actual data|
Source MOF, M/O Foreign Affairs joint Ministerial Group
The abating terrorism incidents notwithstanding, Pakistan is still susceptible to security challenges due to its geo-political status. Some of the external security threats to which Pakistan has been exposed include, Afghan War (1980s); Al-Qaeda, issues of Talibanization & Durand Line; War on Terror & Afghan security situation; Kashmir dispute and Line of Control escalations; Iran vis-a-vis sectarianism & and Gwadar port issues. Even though, as of now, Pakistan is winning this war based on state’s response to terrorism which includes; Karachi Operation (Dec. 2013 onward), Operation Zarb-e-Azb (June 2014 onward), Intelligence Based & Combing Operations (June 2014 onward) and the ongoing Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad (Feb 2017 onward); nevertheless, Pakistan still has a long way to go to curb the menace of extremism that took root during the Soviet Jihad Era (1980s). NACTA is geared to coordinating and augmenting the state response to countering extremism.