Tuesday 28 May 2013

Election carnage in Pakistan

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 FATA.
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.

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