According to Monthly Security Assessment Report by Islamabad based independent think tank Pakistan Institute for Conflict and Security Studies (PICSS), the month of August witnessed some significant developments that have far reaching implications on security situation in the country. One of such developments was related to Balochistan where government’s multipronged strategy is paying dividend and there are increasing signs of province setting on the path of recovery though there is still a long way to go. Other significant development was crack down, particularly in Punjab, on seminaries who are considered to be linked with militancy and sectarianism despite government’s reluctance for quite some time fearing resistance from religious parties.
According to statistics issued by Pakistan Institute for Conflict and Security Studies (PICSS) – an Islamabad based think tank, no significant change was observed in August 2015 in terms of militant attacks. During August, 53 militant attacks were recorded as compared to 47 in the month of July. The resultant deaths had witnessed a slight reduction in the month of August with figures of 110 deaths as compared to 124 in July. In these 53 militant attacks, 30 security forces personnel and 46 civilians lost their lives while 34 militants were also killed. Notable increase in militant activities was observed in Sindh, slight increase in militant activities was observed in FATA while Balochistan and KPK witnessed reduction in violence during August as compared to previous month. Only militant activity in Punjab during the month was significant where Punjab Home Minister Col (retd) Shuja Khanzada, who was spearheading counter-militancy drive in the province, was killed in a suicide attack in his home town in Attock.
According to stats collected by PICSS regarding anti-state violence in Pakistan, a total number of 19 IEDs were recorded with three in Baluchistan, 13 in FATA, one in KPK, and two in Sindh. A total of 19 militants’ physical assaults were also noted throughout the country with five in Baluchistan, five in FATA, four in Sindh, four in KPK and one in Punjab. Eight incidents of target killing were reported across the country with two such incidents in Baluchistan, three in KPK and three in Sindh. One rocket attack was noticed in Baluchistan while two grenade attacks were recorded in the province of Sindh.
PICSS statistics revealed that security forces have also intensified their operations against militants across the country while starting ground operation in North Waziristan where military operation Zarb-e-Azb is being conducted and previously only airstrikes were conducted on militants’ hideouts. In August, 97 security forces actions were recorded across the country against 47 witnessed during the month of July. In these 97 security forces actions, at least 245 suspected militants were killed while only three civilians and three security forces personnel lost their lives. Security forces continued to focus on intelligence based operations and as many as 999 suspects were arrested across the country with majority of them were arrested from Punjab where seminaries belonging to various school of thoughts were raided who are believed to be somehow linked with militancy and sectarianism. In Balochistan, 400 insurgents belonging to various militant groups laid down their arms before the authorities on the eve of Independence Day. In Sindh, security forces continued to target various brands of militants and their so-called abetters with some notable success in terms of arresting or eliminating militants belonging to various militant outfits like Al-Qaeda, TTP, etc. in addition to arrest of Dr Asim belonging to PPP for his alleged links with terrorism related activities. The arrest of Dr Asim and remanding him into Rangers custody has opened up a Pandora’s Box with PPP joining MQM in complaining about scope, mode and objective of Karachi operation.
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