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Islamic State activities on the rise in Pakistan: Report

The Islamic State claimed responsibility for six of the deadliest attacks in Pakistan in 2017 that killed 153 people.

world Updated: Jan 08, 2018 20:42 IST
Imtiaz Ahmad
Imtiaz Ahmad
Hindustan Times, Islamabad
Islamic State,Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan,Pakistan Security Report 2017
File photo of a man mourning the death of a relative killed in a suicide attack by the Islamic State at the tomb of Sufi saint Syed Usman Marwandi, also known as the Lal Shahbaz Qalandar, at Sehwan Sharif in Pakistan’s southern Sindh province on February 17, 2017. (Reuters)

The activities of the Islamic State are on the rise in Sindh and Balochistan provinces of Pakistan but most of the terror attacks in the country in 2017 were carried out by the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), according to a new report from a think tank.

The Pakistan Security Report 2017, released by the Pakistan Institute for Peace Studies (PIPS) on Sunday, said the IS claimed responsibility for six of the deadliest attacks that killed 153 people.

“The IS has claimed responsibility for just six terrorist attacks in the country, but they were the most deadliest ones, such as attacks on the convoy of Senate deputy chairman Abdul Ghafoor Haideri, Sehwan shrine, Shah Noorani shrine in Lasbela, Bethel Memorial Methodist Church in Quetta and Dargah Pir Rakhyal Shah in Fatehpur area of Jhal Magsi district and the abduction and killing of two Chinese nationals,” PIPS official Muhammad Ismail Khan told the Dawn newspaper.

“There is a need to take the matter more seriously because there is a possibility that foreign fighters would come to Pakistan in near future as things are continuously changing in the Middle East,” he added.

The report further said that despite a 16% decline in terror attacks in 2017 as compared to the previous year, the TTP and its affiliates posed the strongest threat, followed by separatist groups such as the Balochistan Liberation Army and Balochistan Liberation Front.

The report said such realities require concerted efforts and a revision of the controversial National Action Plan, which was framed by the government to fight terror after Taliban fighters stormed an army-run school in Peshawar in December 2014 and killed nearly 150 people, most of them children.

According to the report, militant, nationalist or insurgent and violent sectarian groups carried out 370 terror attacks in 64 districts of Pakistan last year. A total of 815 people were killed and 1,736 were injured by these attacks.

There was, however, a decrease of 16% in the number of attacks over the previous year while the number of people killed decreased by 10%.

As many as 213, or 58%, of these attacks were carried out by the TTP, its affiliates such as Jamaat-ul-Ahrar and other religious militant groups. A total of 186 people were killed in these attacks.

Separatist groups, mostly in Balochistan, were responsible for 138 attacks, or 37% of the total, killing 140 people. As many as 19 terror attacks were sectarian-related, in which 71 people were killed and 97 injured.

Compared to the figures for 2016, cross-border attacks in the country increased by a daunting 131%, according to the report. A total of 188 lives were lost and around 348 people were injured in these attacks.

Security forces and law enforcement agencies killed a total of 524 militants in 2017, compared to 809 in 2016.

National Security Adviser Nasser Khan Janjua, in an interview in the report, revealed that a “national security policy” has been documented and circulated internally in the government. Another interview with the national coordinator of the National Counter-Terrorism Authority (NACTA), Ihsan Ghani, revealed that a new counter-extremism policy will be announced this year.

First Published: Jan 08, 2018 20:42 IST