Pakistan is entering a dangerous phase of militancy as the spate of terrorism and violence in the year gone by suggests, security experts said on Monday.
A new terrorist nexus of local and international militants has evolved to hit the Pakistani state and society, the experts observed at the launch here of the Pakistan Annual Security Report 2009 published by the Pakistan Institute for Peace Studies (PIPS).
The militants have now their operational networks or at least facilities in major Pakistani cities, Online news agency quoted the experts as saying.
Renowned scholar and chairman of the Centre for Research and Security Studies Imtiaz Gul chaired the session while leading journalist and security analyst Zahid Hussain delivered the keynote address. PIPS researcher Abdul Basit presented the summary of the PIPS report.
Gul, in his concluding remarks, said: "There are some positive developments that give us hope and they include an increasing realization among the Pakistani military and politicians that the militants are a serious threat for the country's security."
Unending suicide attacks claimed close to 1,000 lives in Pakistan in 2009.
In the last three months of the year alone, some 600 people, mostly civilians, died in a series of blasts that rocked a vast region, from the restive North West Frontier Province (NWFP) to the country's commercial capital Karachi.
In the most horrendous of these bombings, 177 people, including a large number of women and children, were killed Oct 28 in a suicide attack at a crowded market in Peshawar, the NWFP capital.
No major Pakistani city was immune to the terrorist rampage.