Islamabad, February 1, 2023: The first month of 2023 became the deadliest month since July 2018 as the militants carried out 44 attacks killing 134 people and at least 254 injured in January. According to statistics released by an Islamabad-based independent think tank Pakistan Institute for Conflict and Security Studies (PICSS), the pattern of terror attacks continued. At the same time, the security forces foiled many attacks by arresting at least 52 militants, mainly from Punjab, and killing 40, mostly in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Although the number of terror incidents slightly declined in January, the fatalities increased by 139 percent, mainly due to the Peshawar Police Line suicide blast. In January, overall, two suicide bombings were recorded, one in Peshawar and the other one in the Khyber tribal district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
According to PICSS data, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa remained the most affected province during January, where not only the militant attacks increased from 17 to 27, the resultant deaths increased from 17 to 116 compared with December 2022. At least 232 people were also injured in the province, most of them security forces personnel wounded in the Peshawar blast.
KP Police was the main target of the militants. Lakki Marwat remained the most troubled district of KP, where the majority of the militant attacks were reported in January, followed by DI Khan and Peshawar. Militant attacks were also reported from Bannu, Charsadda, and Swabi. Southern KP has been facing a major militant offensive during the last few months.
The violence in tribal districts of KP (former FATA) declined during January. Only three militant attacks were reported from the erstwhile FATA region. In December 2022, PICSS recorded 11 militant attacks in this region. Intelligence Based Operations (IBOs) are stepped up in erstwhile FATA, which was the main reason militant attacks declined in the area. In erstwhile FATA, no violent activity of the militants was noted other than in North Waziristan and Khyber tribal districts during January.
In January 2023, militant attacks declined in Balochistan, where only nine militant attacks were reported compared with 17 in December 2022. The resultant deaths also dropped from 14 to 7, and wounded declined from 48 to 20. Bolan, Panjgur, Kalat, Khuzdar, Mastung, and Quetta were the affected districts during the month.
Four militant attacks were reported from Punjab in which three security forces personnel were killed, while two low-profile attacks were reported from Sindh in which one person died. The highest profile attack was carried out in Minawali district’ Makerwal police station by around two dozen TTP militants on January 31. The attack was repulsed but showed the numerical strength and ability to mobilize armed militants across KP and Punjab border. One attack each was reported from Rawalpindi, DG Khan, and Khanewal.