Sindh Increasingly Showing Signs of Trouble: Possible Cooperation between Sindhi and Balochi Sub-nationalist Militant Groups

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Security situation largely remained stable in Pakistan during the month of March but intermittent militant attacks continued to be reported from various parts of the country. Like February, 20 militant attacks were recorded in the country during the month of March. In these 20 militant attacks, 25 people were killed including 15 civilians and 10 security forces personnel while 37 others were injured including 22 civilians and 15 security forces personnel.

The highest number of militant attacks were reported from erstwhile FATA region where five militant attacks were monitored in which four people were killed and two others were injured. Balochistan, KPK and Sindh witnessed four militant attacks each. In Balochistan, 10 people were killed and 24 others were injured in these four militant attacks. In KPK, three people were killed and three others were injured in four militant attacks.

In Sindh, five people were killed and six others were injured in four militant attacks. Punjab witnessed two militant attacks in which two people were killed while Islamabad Capital Territory witnessed one incident in which one policeman was killed and two others were injured (police still uncertain whether it was a criminal activity or a militant attack).

Among these 20 militant attacks, eight were incidents of targeted killings in which seven people were killed including four security forces personnel and three civilians while one civilian was injured. Six IED-based attacks caused majority of deaths and injuries during the month as 12 people were killed including 10 civilians and two security forces personnel while 25 others were injured including 16 civilians and nine security forces personnel.

Three physical assaults were also monitored during the month in which four security forces personnel were killed while four others were injured. Two grenade attacks were also reported in which seven people were injured including five civilians and two security forces personnel. In one incident, two people were kidnaped and then killed. In March, 19 security forces actions were reported in which 21 people were killed including 19 militants and two civilians while 28 suspected militants were arrested.

The highest number of security forces actions were reported from Sindh where eight notable security forces actions were monitored in which one suspected militant was killed while 15 others were arrested. Three security forces actions were monitored in erstwhile FATA region in which 12 suspected militants were killed.

KPK and Punjab also witnessed three security forces actions each with three people being killed in KPK including one militant and two civilians while three others were arrested. In Punjab, eight people were arrested in three security forces actions. Two security forces were reported from Balochistan in which five suspected militants were killed and two were arrested. Monthly Security Assessment Report – March 2021 2 Pakistan Insitutute for Conflict & Security Studies (PICSS), Islamabad. @ All Rights Reserved Increase in militant attacks as well as security forces actions in Sindh clearly indicate that militants are trying to create troubles in this province.

On political front, pressure on government eased as the alliance of the opposition parties has witnessed serious cracks. Resultantly, the impending long march towards Islamabad by the joint opposition has been postponed and there is least possibility that the opposition would be able to hold such long march in near future. On external front, some further reduction in tension and slight improvement in bilateral relations between Pakistan and India was observed as not only letters between the two prime ministers, probably as part of open diplomacy, were exchanged but bilateral talks under Indus Water Treaty were also resumed.

Pakistani government’s first announcement of restoring trade relations and then reversing a decision by the federal cabinet indicate poor decision making and conflict resolution skills of the sitting government. Uncertainty still looms large on Afghan front as the US is apparently seeking extension of the date of the troops’ withdrawal from Afghanistan from the agreed date of 1st May on tactical and logistic grounds, while Taliban are apparently not interested for such extension and intend to translate this delay as breach of agreement. The peace plan floated by the Biden administration for Afghanistan seems to be least acceptable to Afghan government especially President Ashraf Ghani. An important intra-Afghan peace talks under the UN are expected in Turkey during the month of April though no date has been announced yet.

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