Thursday 31 December 2009

Pakistan terror victims at an all-time high

Figures compiled from newspaper reports by Dawn newspaper show that more than 3,300 people, including law-enforcement and armed forces personnel, were killed in 2009 in terrorism-related incidents in Pakistan.
The statistics confirm that Pakistan is more dangerous that Afghanistan at present, with more killings, more bombings and more suicide attacks. And this is despite the fact that in Azad Kashmir, previously a major hotspot for terrorism, there have been very few incidents in the last year.
Suicide bombers struck every fifth day in Pakistan, killing 1,037 people n 76 suicide attacks in 2009. December saw the highest number of suicide attacks — 15 — which claimed 211 lives. On average nine lives were lost daily.
The data show that 443 army and police personnel lost their lives during military operations and terrorist attacks, the most brazen of which was carried out on 10 October by Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan militants on the heavily-guarded GHQ in Rawalpindi. Six soldiers and four attackers were killed in the siege, which lasted almost 24 hours.
At least 42 people, including a number of serving and retired army officers, were killed in two suicide blasts and a gun attack on an army mosque near the GHQ on 4 December.
The NWFP was the worst-hit province where more than 64 per cent of the terrorism-related incidents took place in 2009. About 2,133 people lost their lives in the province with another 699 killed in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).
In Punjab, 369 people were killed in different incidents. Two incidents of terrorism took place in Sindh, where 44 people died. A further 35 people were killed in Balochistan, 29 in Islamabad and eight in Azad Kashmir.
The bloodiest month was May, during which 1,120 people — 945 in the NWFP alone — were killed. It was in this month that the government launched a full-scale military operation in Swat, Buner and adjoining areas.
The Taliban targeted many prominent personalities during the year, including elected representatives, seven of whom, including Allama Sarfaraz Naeemi who was an outspoken opponent of the Taliban, were killed in suicide attacks.
Federal Minister for Religious Affairs Hamid Saeed Kazmi survived an attempt on his life in Islamabad on 2 September.
Two MPAs from the Awami National Party — Dr Shamsher Khan and Alamzeb Khan — also lost their lives in terrorist attacks.
Senior NWFP Minister Bashir Bilour survived an assassination attempt in Peshawar on 11 March during which six people, including two suspected suicide attackers, were killed.
The Taliban also blew up the shrine of the revered 17th century Sufi poet Abdurrahman Baba in Peshawar.
The military claimed to have killed a number of important leaders of the TTP and al-Qaeda during operations in the NWFP and FATA. TTP chief Baitullah Mehsud was killed in a drone attack in August in South Waziristan.
In Lahore on 3 March a convoy of two buses carrying Sri Lankan cricketers and officials was attacked by 12 gunmen near the Qadhafi Stadium. Six policemen and two civilians were killed.

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