After a brief period of relative peace, Pakistan has seen a resurgence of terrorist attacks in the country.
After the banned militant group Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) called off its ceasefire on November 28, 2022, Pakistan has been hit by a wave of terrorism, mostly in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and areas bordering Afghanistan, though recent events suggest the terrorists’ tendrils could reach further into the Pakistani heartland.
A suicide attacker detonated himself on the outskirts of Islamabad in January, while just two days ago, an audacious attack on the high-security Karachi Police Office (KPO) in Karachi has raised questions on the state of security in the country.
On the same day, the Punjab Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) in Mianwali’s Kalabagh also came under attack from a group of armed militants. The TTP claimed responsibility for both attacks.
To look back at Pakistan’s experience with major terrorist incidents in the past decade, Dawn.com presents a timeline of major militant attacks on high-security sites in Pakistan since 2013.
On Feb 14, 21 people, including security personnel and militants, were killed and several others injured in suicide attacks on police posts in southern KP districts and roadside explosions in Orakzai Agency.
Eleven people, including three Frontier Constabulary (FC) personnel, two policemen and one Levies man, were killed as a suicide bomber rammed his explosive-laden vehicle into a security post in the volatile Hangu district.
Meanwhile, five suicide bombers and a non-combatant were killed in a pre-dawn attack on a police station in Bannu while a police post was partially damaged when police repulsed a militant attack in Karak district.
Dozens of heavily-armed Pakistani Taliban insurgents freed nearly 175 inmates, including 35 ‘high-profile militants’, during a brazen overnight attack on July 30 on the central jail in Dera Ismail Khan.
At least nine people, including four policemen and five militants, were killed in the attack and the following shootout. This was the second largest successful attempt at a jailbreak following the TTP’s Bannu jailbreak in 2012 which freed nearly 400 prisoners.
On Oct 8, a hand-grenade attack at Quetta’s New Sariab police station,on the outskirts of Quetta wounded 11 people, including policemen.
Two days later, a powerful bomb exploded near City Police Station in Quetta, located in Liaquat Bazaar, a busy city centre. Eight people, including a policeman and child, were killed while over 60 were injured. The United Baloch Army (UBA) claimed responsibility for the blast.
On June 8, gunmen disguised as police guards stormed through Karachi’s Jinnah International Airport, opening fire with machine guns and a rocket launcher.
The attack lasted five hours and left 28 people dead. Rizwan Akhter, the then-chief of paramilitary Rangers, had said that all 10 terrorists were killed. A TTP spokesperson took responsibility of the attack, claiming that it was carried out to avenge the killing of Hakimullah Mehsud in a US drone strike.
At least 60 people were killed in a blast near the Wagah border on Nov 2, the responsibility of which was claimed by both the outlawed Jundullah and TTP-affiliated Jamaat-ul-Ahrar outfits.
The victims included 10 women and seven children, while more than 110 people were injured.
On Jan 12, at least seven Frontier Corps personnel and two others were killed in a militant attack on a security check post in Mekhtar area of Balochistan’s Loralai district. Security sources had told Dawn that around 40 militants had attacked the checkpost with rockets and gunfire.
On Sept 18, at least 42 people, including 13 terrorists and an army captain, were killed as TTP militants attacked a Pakistan Air Force base in Badhaber area on the outskirts of Peshawar. Ten soldiers were injured in the following exchange of fire.
In what was called the “deadliest attack on a security installation in the country’s history”, heavily-armed militants wearing suicide vests stormed a police academy in Quetta, killing at least 61 people and wounding at least 117 on Oct 23.
Communication intercepts showed the attack was carried out by the Al-Alimi faction of the Lashkar-i-Jhangvi (LJ) militant group, officials had said.
On Feb 13, a blast outside the provincial assembly in Lahore killed 13 people, including SSP Operations Zahid Gondal and DIG Traffic Lahore Capt (retd) Ahmad Mobin, along with four other police officials.
Seventy people were injured in the attack, for which the Jamaat-ul-Ahrar yet again claimed responsibility.
On Feb 3, the TTP claimed responsibility for a suicide attack near a military camp in KP which left 11 soldiers, including a captain, dead.
The blast took place in the evening near the Pakistan Army’s sports unit situated at Sharifabad area of Swat’s Kabal tehsil while the soldiers played volleyball.
On Jan 29, at least nine people — five civilian employees, three policemen and a candidate — were killed and 21 others injured in a terrorist attack on the office of the Deputy Inspector General of Police, Zhob Range, in Loralai.
On Feb 17, another attack took place on security personnel in which four Frontier Corps members were killed in the Gardab area of Panjgur District.
Official sources said unidentified armed men opened fire on the personnel during the change of shifts at two check-posts located in the mountainous area on the outskirts of Panjgur town.
On Sept 5, a terrorist on a bomb-clad motorcycle targeted a Frontier Corps convoy on Mastung Road, Quetta, killing four personnel and injuring 20 others. TTP claimed responsibility for the incident.
On Jan 25, militants stormed an army security post in a remote area of Dasht, Kech District, Balochistan, killing at least 10 security personnel and injuring three others. The clash lasted for a few hours in which militants were also killed. Additionally, the militants seized weapons that were present in the security post.
On Dec 18, the TTP carried out an attack on a counterterrorism centre in KP’s Bannu District. They took the officers hostage until Dec 20, when Pakistan’s security forces lay siege to the centre, releasing all the hostages and killing 25 militants inside. Three officers were killed during the siege.
On Jan 14, the Sarband police station in Peshawar was attacked, killing a DSP and two constables. TTP claimed responsibility for the attack.
Two weeks later, one of the biggest blasts since relative peacetime exploded in Peshawar on Jan 30 at a mosque in Peshawar Police Lines. Over 80 people were martyred, many of whom were police officials. TTP once again claimed responsibility for the attack.
A day later on Jan 31, a police station in Mianwali, Punjab, came under a gun attack by a group of TTP militants. However, the attack was repulsed.
The Karachi Police Office building in Karachi came under attack on Feb 17. Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah declared that three terrorists had been killed. Four people were killed and 19 were injured in the incident.
Header photo: A police officer secures a site as he stands amid the damages in the aftermath of an attack on a police station in Karachi, Pakistan February 17, 2023.—Reuters/Akhtar Soomro