A new wave of terrorism has struck Pakistan in February this year. It is unclear is this is a blowback, or retaliation of some kind? Or, is it an ongoing, sustained terror campaign aimed at reconfiguration of some kind in the election year.
Pakistan has seen heightened number of suicide attacks in election years, starting with Gen Zia’s last year in 1987, in Gen Musharraf’s last year in 2007-08 and in President Zardari’s last years in 2012-13.
Nearly a dozen suicide attacks were unleashed in all four provinces in February – Lahore, Sehwan, Peshawar, Quetta, Charsadda – resulting in over 100 deaths, the Sehwan shrine blast in Sindh most lethal, killing 88 people alone.
Pakistan Army with support from civilian leadership of Sharif has launched a new full-scale countrywide counter terrorism operation named Raddul Fasaad. Paramilitary rangers will now be given powers in Punjab province to go after terror safe heavens.
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The last year – 2016 – saw some relief in terror attacks in Pakistan. The 2017 world terror index is yet to be released. However, based on available cumulative data, Knoema has published this graphic, with this description:
We do not yet know if the total number of fatalities globally from terrorism decreased during 2016 because the only comprehensive database on terrorism – Global Terrorism Database – has not released 2016 data.
What we do know is that the number of people internally displaced globally due to conflicts decreased by nearly 60 percent last year.
In 2015, conflict displaced 7 million people globally; in 2016, this figure dropped to 3 million, according to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre.
We also know that the Middle East and North Africa combined account for roughly half of all fatalities from terrorism globally.
A review of data from just one country in this region, Pakistan – one of the world’s worst terrorism affected countries – shows reason for hope.
Data from the South Asia Terrorism Portal suggests that the number of people killed by terrorists in Pakistan decreased by more than 50 percent in 2016 compared to 2015, shrinking from 3,682 to 1,803 total deaths.
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