The last ten days have been particularly violent for Pakistan, as the country grapples with one terror attack after another. The combined death toll in the last ten days stands at 126 right now.
Attacks on government officials and buildings were claimed by the Jamaat-ul-Ahrar group, a breakaway faction of the Pakistani Taliban, which announced its ‘Operation Ghazi’, named after Abdul Rashid Ghazi who was killed in the 2007 Lal Masjid faceoff. In a video released on February 13, the outlawed terror group said they would deliberately target legislative bodies, Pakistan army, NGOs, women rights groups and liberal activists, among others.
The other attacks targeted crowded markets, rallies and a Sufi shrine and were claimed by a whole host of terror groups.
Here is a closer look at Pakistan’s ten days of terror:
February 23: Two blasts rock Lahore; five killed, 21 wounded
A powerful blast shook an upscale market in Pakistan’s eastern city of Lahore, killing five and wounding more than 20 people. Initially, reports on Pakistani TV channels said the blast was caused by an exploding generator, but later reports suggest that the damage was due to a bomb explosion. Security forces have cordoned off the area.
February 21: Suicide bombers attack court complex in Charsadda
On Tuesday, suicide bombers attacked a court complex in Tangi , in the northwestern town of Charsadda, killing at least six people. Rescue operations are underway, even as the authorities hunt for a suicide bomber who is still lose within the court complex. A spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban’s Jamaat-ur-Ahrar faction claimed responsibility for the attack, telling journalists that the fight was still going on.
February 18: Suicide bomber triggers blast at Lal Shahbaz Qalander shrine
At least 90 people died after an Islamic State (IS) suicide bomber blew himself up at the Lal Shahbaz Qalander dargah in Sehwan, 132 km from Jamshoro and around 140 km from Hyderabad. The attack happened while devotees were in the middle of dhamaal, a sufi ritual where the devout remember the saint through music. The Islamic State subscribes to a hardline, orthodox version of Wahabbi Islam and dubs Sufi practices as un-Islamic.
Pakistan’s army chief, General Qamar Bajwa said that the deaths will be avenged. The army and paramilitary forces launched a crackdown, killing over 100 militants in Karachi and other parts of Sindh, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan.
February 15: Two suicide attacks in Peshawar
Two separate attacks on government officials claimed 7 lives in the northwestern city of Peshawar. In Ghalanai, which falls in the Mohmand tribal region, five people died after an explosion occurred at the main gate of the tribal headquarters. The Jamaat-ul-Ahrar group, a breakaway faction of the Pakistani Taliban, claimed the attack in a statement released to the press.
At least two people was killed and more than 18 injured after a suicide bomber targeted a government van in a separate attack. The attacker rammed his motorcycle into the van, deliberately targeting the government officials.The outlawed Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility for the attack.
February 14: Two policemen die while defusing bomb in Quetta
A Pakistani bomb squad officer and another policeman were killed trying to defuse a bomb in the southwestern city of Quetta. Both men died on the spot, their bodies blown up. The Sunni Muslim militant group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi’s Al Alami faction claimed responsibility for the deaths.
February 13: Deadly blast rips through Lahore rally, 16 killed
A suicide bomber rammed his motorcycle into a police vehicle during a rally at the Punjab assembly building, where hundreds of pharmacists had gathered to protest changes in a drug sale law. At least 16 people were killed and more than 83 wounded. Five policemen numbered among the dead.
Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, a Pakistani Taliban-linked armed group, claimed responsibility for the attack. A spokesman for the group warned in a statement that the blast was “just the start”. Pakistan arrested over 30 people in connection with the blasts and launched an operation against militants in Punjab province.