Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Pak Terror Deaths Decline in 2013 But TTP Threat Still Looms Large

Total number of deaths in Pakistan terrorist violence declined from 6,211 in 2012 to 5,279 in 2013, the lowest since 11,704 fatalities suffered in 2009, according to figures compiled by South Asia Terrorism Portal.

Source: SATP
While civilian casualties remained essentially flat--down only slightly from 3007 in 2012 to 3001 in 2013-most of the overall drop from 6,211 to 5,379 occurred in fatalities suffered by the security forces and the terrorists.

Pakistan's biggest province Punjab with more than half the country's population remained relatively unscathed  by terrorist violence with just 81 terror casualties in 2013. By contrast, FATA, Sindh, KP and Balochistan suffered disproportionately  with 1,716, 1668, 936 and 960 terror-related deaths respectively.

Source: SATP

Sindh suffered the most civilian casualties in 2013 with 1285 dead in terrorist attacks. It is followed by 718 in Balochistan, 603 in KP, 319 in FATA and 64 civilian deaths in Punjab. Few terror-related deaths in Punjab, Pakistan's biggest province, appear to be the main reason why terrorism is not seen as a major problem by majority of Pakistanis in public opinion surveys. According to a survey conducted by the International Republican Institute (IRI), 42% respondents said electricity is the single most important issue facing Pakistan; while 21% said inflation, 12% said unemployment, 10% said terrorism and 3% each cited law and order, corruption and poverty as the most crucial issue. Only 1% considered gas/petrol shortage as the single most important issue of Pakistan.

Pakistan Savings Rate as Percent of GDP (Source: World Bank)
Pakistan FDI as Percent of GDP (Source: World Bank)

It seems that Pakistan's new prime minister Mr. Nawaz Sharif's agenda is set in response to the surveys like the IRI survey which are heavily influenced by the perceptions of his party's political base in Punjab. While the Sharif government is focusing on the energy and the economy, it is hard to de-link these priorities with action on terrorism. With Pakistan's domestic savings rate at an all-time low of just 4.3% of GDP, the country badly needs foreign direct investment in energy sector to revive the economy. Such foreign investment is unlikely to materialize in a big way without first tackling the scourge of terrorism in the country. What is urgently needed is a comprehensive strategy and a clear plan of action to fight terrorism in a coordinated fashion.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Nawaz Sharif's Silence on Taliban Terror in Inaugural Speech

Taliban vs. Pakistan

Nawaz Sharif's First 100 Days

Yet Another Peace Deal and Shia Blockade

Taliban Insurgency in Swat

Musharraf's Treason Trial

General Kayani's Speech on Terror War Ownership

Impact of Youth Vote and Taliban Violence on Elections 2013

Imran Khan's Social Media Campaign

Pakistan Elections 2013 Predictions 

Why is Democracy Failing in Pakistan?

Viewpoint From Overseas-Vimeo 

Viewpoint From Overseas-Youtube 

6 comments:

Shams said...

The statistics are inaccurate. Shias' target-killed are not included in this even though there has been more terrorism against shias than any other singularity.

Riaz Haq said...

Shams: "The statistics are inaccurate. Shias' target-killed are not included in this even though there has been more terrorism against shias than any other singularity."

Shia killings are detailed by each incident and included in the total count by satp.org

http://www.satp.org/satporgtp/countries/pakistan/timeline/index.html

HopeWins Junior said...

I think what Shams meant was that 2013 was the WORST year for Shia on official records...
http://www.satp.org/satporgtp/countries/pakistan/database/Shias_killed_Pakistan.htm

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan's National Internal Security Policy (NISP) Strategy; three tiers of strategy (short-, medium- and long-term); fire-fighting (short-term; police reforms/CT efforts); overhaul of laws and the criminal justice system (short- to medium-term); narrative-building (short-, medium- and long-term). The the policy has been approved by the federal cabinet and some of its salient points have come into the public domain http://newsweekpakistan.com/national-internal-security-policy-and-the-road-ahead/

Riaz Haq said...

Here's NY Times on contrast between Karachi and Lahore:

At a literature festival here not long ago, I bumped into a school friend who had recently relocated from Karachi, the southern port city where we both grew up. Karachi has all the buzz, and violence, of a megalopolis — more than 2,700 people were killed there in 2013 — and none of the greenery and historic charms of Lahore, the capital of Punjab Province. “I’m loving Lahore,” she told me. “I feel like I’ve moved to Switzerland after living in a war zone.”

The contrast is not as exaggerated as it sounds. In recent years, Punjab has suffered less than the rest of the country from the suicide attacks and bomb blasts that have killed some 49,000 people since 2001. There have been dramatic exceptions: terrorist attacks against the visiting Sri Lankan cricket team and at a major Sufi shrine in Lahore, at army headquarters in Rawalpindi, and at a five-star hotel and courts in the capital, Islamabad. Anti-India militant groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba and anti-Shiite organizations like Lashkar-e-Jhangvi are based in Punjab and draw most of their recruits from the province. But these groups mostly stage their attacks elsewhere in Pakistan to maintain benign relations with the local authorities.

And so the perception that Punjab has suffered less from violence than the rest of the country prevails, creating much resentment. For non-Punjabis, the province’s relative stability is just the latest demonstration of how Punjabi elites rally to protect their own interests at the expense of their compatriots. And such interprovincial rivalries could be as great a challenge for the country’s stability as the Taliban.

It is commonly said that Punjab is synonymous with Pakistan, and vice versa, which seems to relegate the other provinces and autonomous regions to the status of outliers. Some of Punjab’s good fortune is an accident of geography: the name means “land of five rivers,” referring to the Indus River and the tributaries that flow through the province, making it the agricultural and industrial heartland of Pakistan. But politics matters even more.

Pakistan’s elites, political, bureaucratic and military have long hailed from Punjab and shaped the country’s policies to the province’s advantage. Until recently, Punjab received the lion’s share of national revenues simply by virtue of having the largest population; never mind its actual needs or contributions to the national budget. (The formula was finally revised in 2009, benefiting Sindh, Baluchistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces.) Also, the government and the military have long allotted prime agricultural land and urban real estate in other parts of Pakistan to Punjabi officers and senior bureaucrats.
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Likewise, the P.M.L.N. government at the center started pushing for peace talks with the Taliban in September and then even more in November, when the Taliban threatened to carry out attacks in Punjab to avenge the killing of their former leader in a U.S. drone strike in North Waziristan. The central government is considering concessions, including swapping prisoners, granting an amnesty to Taliban fighters and even giving the group a political role in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas along the border with Afghanistan.

Government officials have repeatedly stated that a peace deal is necessary because military strikes against the Taliban would lead to reprisal attacks. Given the carnage that Karachi, Quetta and Peshawar have endured in recent years, many Pakistanis describe that policy as a ploy to sacrifice the tribal areas in order to save Lahore. Such perceptions only heighten interprovincial tensions, just at a time when the country needs to be more united than ever.


http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/03/opinion/the-other-threat-to-pakistan.html?hpw&rref=opinion&_r=0

Riaz Haq said...

Brown U Study: 149,000 war deaths and 162,000 serious injuries in #Afghanistan and #Pakistan since #American invasion http://cnn.it/1ETh7UY


Civilian casualties have been particularly high, according to the report, totaling around 26,270 deaths in Afghanistan and 21,500 in Pakistan. The study says that most of the civilian casualties in Afghanistan are caused by militant groups, but the number caused by international forces has been increasing since 2012...The turmoil in Pakistan, which has its own Taliban and al Qaeda factions, has become more closely related to that of Afghanistan, with refugees and anti-government militants crossing borders. "It is important for policy makers and others to view the effects and implications of these wars together, because they are so interconnected," said Neta Crawford, the author of the Brown study.