Terror attacks rise

THE terrorist threat, if left unaddressed, threatens to again grow into an uncontrollable hydra, resulting in an unacceptably high number of both civilian and military casualties. As a report by a local think tank points out, militant violence is showing an upward trend, with a higher frequency of attacks, as well as increased fatalities. According to figures compiled by the Pakistan Institute for Conflict and Security Studies, there were 271 militant attacks across the country during the first six months of this year, resulting in 389 fatalities and over 650 injuries. The number of attacks, as well as fatalities, is higher compared to the corresponding period last year. KP — both its tribal and settled districts — has been hardest hit, with 266 lives lost across the province to militancy. Balochistan comes in second where terrorist violence is concerned. The latest attacks targeting military personnel also occurred in Balochistan on Sunday, resulting in the martyrdom of six military personnel, including a major. One incident occurred in Kech during an intelligence-based operation, while several attacks on check-posts in Sherani district took the lives of four men. The banned TTP claimed credit for the Sherani attacks.

The security planners need to consider two key challenges when drawing up counterterrorism plans: the continuously changing nature of the terrorist threat, and the high number of fatalities of military, paramilitary and police personnel. Concerning the first challenge, Sunday’s attacks occurred in Balochistan’s Baloch- as well as Pakhtun-dominated areas. In the Baloch areas, this could mean that separatist elements are involved, or, as some have noted, religiously inspired Baloch militants have joined forces with the TTP. The state, therefore, must deal with the threat accordingly. Secondly, the large number of fatalities amongst security personnel is alarming. According to media reports quoting the ISPR chief, 95 officers and men have been martyred in antiterrorism operations. These reports were not specific about the period during which these fatalities occurred. The fact is that security personnel, including police officers, need to have the training and equipment which can help bring down the fatality rate significantly. The state cannot afford to keep on losing such a high number of security men. Moreover, the counterterrorism strategy must also include action against the supporters of those who ruthlessly target our security personnel, yet continue to operate without fear even in the federal capital.

Source: Dawn, 5 July 2023.