December 14, 2023

Country Witnessed Deadliest Attack on Security Forces; Operations Intensified (8 – 14 December 2023)

During the reporting period, Pakistan witnessed a surge in militant attacks, particularly
a deadly assault on security forces in Dera Ismail Khan. The attack, claimed by Tehreek-i-Jihad
Pakistan (TJP), resulted in 23 Pakistan Army soldiers killed. The country experienced a total of
five militant attacks, including suicide bombings, grenade attacks, and targeted killings. In
response, security forces intensified operations, resulting in the killing of 26 suspected militants
and the apprehension of 19 others.

The political landscape was marked by uncertainty as the Election Commission of
Pakistan (ECP) delayed announcing the election schedule due to legal challenges by the
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) regarding the appointment of bureaucrats as returning officers.
Political parties engaged in a blame game over the delay, while concerns were raised about
holding elections in areas under security threats.

The Turbat Long March highlighted public outrage against the alleged extrajudicial
killing of Balach Baloch. Protesters demanded action against CTD officials, leading to clashes
with security forces in Quetta.

Amid rumors of talks with the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Pakistan’s Foreign Office
denied engagement, emphasizing a stance of no negotiation with terrorist groups. Caretaker
Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar warned terrorists to surrender unconditionally.

In the judicial realm, former Prime Minister Imran Khan faced indictment in the cypher
case, with proceedings kept in-camera. The reversal of PML-N leader Nawaz Sharif’s conviction
raised hopes about his eligibility to contest elections.

India’s Supreme Court’s ruling on the abrogation of Article 370 in held Kashmir stirred
political tensions. While hailed by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the decision faced
criticism from opposition parties, including Congress. Pakistan strongly condemned the verdict,
and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) issued a statement expressing concern.
Afghanistan-Pakistan relations remained strained, exacerbated by a terrorist attack in
Dera Ismail Khan. Pakistan urged the interim Afghan government to take action against
perpetrators, while Balochistan’s caretaker minister proposed reprisal attacks in Afghanistan.

Chief of Army Staff Gen Asim Munir’s visit to the US focused on regional security and
potential areas of bilateral defense cooperation. The US expressed solidarity with Pakistan
following the Dera Ismail Khan attack, indicating possible counterterrorism collaboration.

To access the complete security assessment report
(8 – 14 Dec 2023)

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