ISLAMABAD: Pakistan witnessed a nearly 31 per cent reduction in terror and counterterrorism-related fatalities in 2019, according to data released by the Centre for Research and Security Studies (CRSS) on Monday.

According to the research, only two militant outfits — Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) splinter groups and the militant Islamic State (IS) group — claimed responsibility for 12 and one attacks, respectively, but their own ranks depleted by nearly 30pc. Civilian fatalities declined by about 36pc.

The report observed a 30.71pc drop in fatalities in 2019 (from 980 in 2018 to 679 in 2019). If Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province and the former Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) are counted as separate regions, Balochistan still remains most affected by militancy and insurgency. The largest drop in fatalities was observed in Balochistan (44.2pc), followed by Fata (39pc), Sindh (19pc), and Punjab (11.8pc).

No drone attack happened during outgoing year

Nearly 370 terrorist attacks were reported in the country during 2019 that left 518 persons dead. It is a 30pc drop from the 739 fatalities from the nearly 400 terrorist attacks in 2018. Suicide attacks also declined significantly this year, dropping from 26 in 2018 to nine this year. These attacks also resulted in the loss of life of 295 individuals in 2018, but dropped to 56 persons in 2019.

Although civilians were the most terrorism-affected group, the overall civilian fatalities declined by about 36pc, the report said. Government and security officials’ fatalities dropped by 19pc, while the militants and insurgents had a 30pc drop in their fatalities.

In 2019, no drone attack was reported as compared to four such attacks in last year resulting in death of 13 suspected militants. This is quite significant, as this marks the first year since 2004 that there have been no drone strikes (as of December 30, 2019), the CRSS said.

One of the causes in bringing militancy under control was the apprehension of the outlaws belonging to various banned outfits during this year.

Of the 141 suspected militants arrested, 32 were from the banned TTP, 11 from the Lashkar-i-Jhangvi, three from Al Qaeda in the Indian Sub-Continent (AQIS), four from the IS, two from the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) and five from the Baloch Republican Army (BRA).

In addition, 24 suspected militants belonging to Jaish-e-Mohammad and two from Jamaatud Dawa were also arrested, the CRSS noted.

Published in Dawn, December 31st, 2019

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