Actions, Reactions & Transformations Change at the Changing Rate -PICSS Annual Security Assessment Report 2014
2014 witnessed many variations in security situation. Overall violence increased so were the number of deaths. There were 2821 overall incidents of anti-state violence and counter-insurgency operations by the security forces in which at least 5388 people were killed, 3954 others injured, and 158 people were kidnapped while 6615 suspected militants were arrested during country wide intelligence based operations. The year started with reaction from militants in the form of increased violence due to killing of then TTP Chief Hakeemullah Mehsud in November 2013 while the year ended with reaction from the state in the wake of Peshawar Army Public School Attack. In between, efforts were made to resolve the issue through peace-talks with the TTP and violence substantially decreased during this period. However, talks could not progress and militants returned to violence and launched strategically important Karachi Airport attack that compelled security forces to launch Operation Zarb-e-Azb in North Waziristan and country wide intelligence based operations. These measures put militants on the defensive and thus violence in the country reduced once again. However, militants manage to recover from the immediate shock and dispersed into other areas including Khyber Agency, stimulating launch of another operation named Khyber-1. These measures further dropped violence by the end of year but militants, out of frustration, launched deadly Peshawar School Attack that completely changed the dynamics of militancy and counter-insurgency approach in the country.
Balochistan was worst affected region followed by KP and FATA. Violence in Balochistan was multifaceted with involvement of sub-nationalist elements, sectarian outfits and TTP/Al-Qaeda. Violence in FATA was due to presence of various brands of militants including local and foreigners that kept fighting with the state as well as among themselves. Violence in KP, which reduced after operations, was due to close proximity of the area with FATA and fertile ground for ideological drive by the militants. Violence in Punjab increased manifold as compared to previous years while Karachi, the financial capital of Pakistan, faced brunt of criminals, sectarian outfits, TTP/Al-Qaeda affiliated militants as well as from armed groups backed by political parties. Violence was also witnessed in Federal Capital Islamabad where militants launched at least two major attacks. Despite some minor incidents, security situation in Gilgit-Baltistan remained quite stable while no militant activity was observed in Azad Jammu & Kashmir.
Due to variety of reasons, TTP witnessed a serious decay in the year. While appointment of a non-Mehsud Fazlullah as head of the outfit acted as stimulus for tussles between various TTP groups, cleavages increased when TTP entered into peace talks as some elements were against the move while others were favouring peace talks. Fazlullah could neither hold a decentralized TTP together nor could lead it by living in Pakistan as he kept hiding in Afghanistan. Following failure of peace talks, pro-talks faction of Khan Said Sajna parted ways from the main TTP while anti-talk faction also deflected in the form of TTP Jamatul Ahrar. Al-Qaeda/ TTP suffered another blow when Punjabi Taliban announced cessation of violence in Pakistan. TTP suffered yet another jolt when some of its prominent leaders parted ways and owed their allegiance to Islamic State.