This blog aims to highlight issues and information that don't always make it into the mainstream media. Recognising that comment is cheap, wherever possible it will link you directly to documents and sources that are mentioned in the text.
I realised some time ago that it was impossible to write about Afghanistan without writing about Pakistan and other neighbouring countries. With that in mind, the reader will come across articles that, while not specifically about Afghanistan, in some way shed light on the conflict.
Political violence in Pakistan is seldom reported in mainstream media, so the figures for attacks during the recent election campaign, compiled by the Pak Institute for Peace Studies (PIPS), are shocking: 298 people lost their lives and 885 others
were injured across Pakistan between 1 January 1 and 15 May in 148 reported
terrorist attacks on political leaders, workers and voters, and 97
incidents of political violence.
The PIPS report says that the number of terrorist attacks on political leaders and
workers significantly increased about
six to seven weeks before the 2013 general elections.
Out of total 148 attacks, 108 were perpetrated by the Tehreek-e-Taliban
Pakistan (TTP) and associated local Taliban and other militant groups. These attacks
claimed the lives of 156 people and injured 665 others. Baloch nationalist
insurgents carried out 40 attacks that killed 14 people and injured
another 78. The Awami National Party (ANP) bore the brunt of the terrorist attacks - 37 - followed by Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and
Mutahidda Qaumi Movement (MQM) with 12 attacks each. While militants hit the
ANP and PPP in almost every region of Pakistan, the MQM was frequently targeted in
Karachi. Party leaders, workers and candidates of of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz
(PML-N) were targeted in 10 terrorist attacks, mainly in Balochistan and
Punjab. Three factions of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (Fazl, Sami and Nazriati or
JUI-F, JUI-S and JUI-N, respectively) and Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) were also
targeted by militants in parts of Sindh, Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and
As many as five terrorist attacks hit leaders and workers of Imran Khan's Pakistan
Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in KP and Punjab. Balochistan’s nationalist parties were
targeted in a total of eight attacks. Meanwhile 19 attacks hit independent
election candidates, their offices and rallies and 17 attacks targeted polling
stations in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
The number of terrorist attacks targeting political leaders and workers,
election candidates and polling stations by region was reported as 50 from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, followed by 49 in Balochistan, 30 in Sindh, 12 in FATA and 7 in Punjab.
Apart from those killed in terrorist attacks between January and May, another 128 leaders and workers of different political parties were
killed and 142 injured in 97 reported incidents of political violence and
clashes between supporters and workers of different political parties during
the same period of time.
The highest number of such incidentswas
reported from Sindh - 73, including 70 in Karachi alone - followed by nine
incidents each in KP and Punjab. Six incidents of political violence were
reported from Balochistan.