Will the decline in violence prove to be long lasting?

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Executive summary of Monthly Security Report for the month of June 2015, prepared by PICSS is here :

June witnessed decrease in overall violent incidents (anti state violence by militants and counter-insurgency operations by the state) though number of deaths have gone up as compared to previous month. In 143 overall violent incidents, at least 406 people were killed while 113 others injured. The month has witnessed downward trend in civilian deaths and injuries while an upward trend in security forces’ deaths/ injuries.

After seeing an increase in militant activities in the previous month, June witnessed a decline in violent militant activities as well as resulted deaths/ injuries. In 57 militant activities, 116 people were killed while 64 people were injured. Despite reduction in militant activities due to strong armed tactics by the state in the form of military operations in FATA, there are fears that militants have spread out to urban areas to establish their sleeper cells to resume their activities when situation becomes favourable to them. Continuously evolution security situation in Afghanistan will have profound effects on militancy in Pakistan.

In 86 security forces actions across the country in June, 290 people were killed while 49 others were injured. 459 suspects were arrested across the country. Continuing with previous trend, security forces conducted most of the actions in Balochistan while majority of deaths resulted from forces operations conducted in FATA. Forces also hunted down various suspects in Karachi during the month. Reportedly, security forces have concluded operation Khyber-II in Khyber Agency while securing most part of the agency. Military had gained control of strategically important areas and had also taken physical control of the three passes from Afghanistan into Tirah which will definitely restrict militants’ movement into Afghanistan and back. Security forces also suffered some losses in this phase. Military has also completed initial phase of its operation in Shawal valley while seizing some important peaks but still lot of work is required to completely clear the valley.

Security forces have already completed one year of operation Zarb-e-Azb and security situation in the country has improved tremendously since start of operation.

Indian involvement in anti-Pakistan activities have become more pronounced. The statement of Indian PM during his visit to Bangladesh that India played an active part in dismemberment of Pakistan in 1971 only confirmed Pakistan’s accusations. The statement of Indian junior minister that India will use the option of surgical strikes against Pakistan once again raised the temperature between the two countries. India has also shown its reservations against Pakistan-China Economic Corridor though Pakistan out-rightly rejected Indian objection. Unresolved Kashmir issue, especially when politico-diplomatic relations between the two countries are at the lowest ebb, continues to remain a point of concern and any misadventure by any of the two states could bring the two states to a war with sword of nuclear option always hanging.

The accusations of Pakistan Rangers Sindh mostly against MQM as well as sitting PPP government and its leadership has raised the political temperature in the country particularly after an outburst from PPP co-chairperson and former President Asif Ali Zardari. Rangers had claimed that more than Rs230 billion being generated annually in Karachi through extortion, smuggling of Iranian diesel, water supply and land-grabbing, etc and that part of this huge amount is being used for terror funding. By cancelling his scheduled meeting with Mr Zardari, PM Nawaz Sharif put his weight behind Rangers and military establishment is hell bent to disturb finances of militants regardless of latter’s political affiliation.

A rare clash between insurgents in Balochistan has been witnessed, which is considered to be positive development in terms of fighting insurgency in the province. Moreover, political leadership has also made an effort to reach out to Khan of Kalat to initiate dialogue with hardliners.