Pakistan witnessed a nearly 31% reduction in terror and counter-terror related fatalities in 2019, according to data released by the Center for Research and Security Studies (CRSS) in Islamabad. Only two militant outfits, Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) splinter groups and the Islamic State (IS), claimed responsibility for 12 and 1 attacks respectively, but their own ranks depleted by nearly 30%. Civilian fatalities declined by about 36%.
A 30.71% drop in fatalities was observed in 2019 (from 980 in 2018 to 679 in 2019). If the Khyber Pukhtunkhwa (KP) province and the former Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) are counted as separate regions1, Balochistan still remains most affected of militancy and insurgency. The largest drop in fatalities was observed in Balochistan (44.2%), followed by FATA (39%), Sindh (19%), and Punjab (11.8%).
|Table 1: Fatalities from terror/counter-terror by province/region – 2018 vs. 2019|
|Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK)||0||1||n/a|
|Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT)||6||7||16.67%|
|Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA)*||192||117||-39.06%|
|*Note: FATA merged into KP partway through 2019.|
Nearly 370 terror attacks were reported during 2019 that left 518 persons dead in the country. As mentioned prior, this is a 30% drop from the 739 fatalities from the nearly 400 terror attacks in 2018. Suicide-attacks also declined significantly this year, dropping from 26 in 2018 to 9 this year. These attacks also resulted in the loss of life of 295 individuals in 2018, but dropped to 56 persons in 2019.
|Table 2: Fatalities by month – 2018 vs. 2019|
|*Note: as of December 30, 2019.|
Although civilians were the most terrorism-affected group, the overall civilian fatalities declined by about 36%. Government and security officials’ fatalities were dropped by 19% while the militants and insurgents had a 30% drop in their fatalities. In 2019, no drone attack was reported as compared to four drone attacks in last year resulting in death of 13 militants. This is quite significant, as this marks the first year since 2004 that there have been no drone strikes (as of December 30, 2019).
|Table 3: Fatalities by victims – 2018 vs. 2019|
|Government and Security Officials||239||193||-19.25%|
Only two militant outfits, TTP and the IS, continued claiming responsibilities for terror attacks. However, the number of these attacks and associated fatalities dropped significantly. IS claimed a single attack while TTP and its splinter groups Hizbul Tahrir and Jamat-ul-Ahrar claimed 12 attacks.
One of the causes in bringing militancy under control was the apprehension of the outlaws belonging to various banned outfits during this year. Of the 141 militants arrested, 32 were TTP, 11 were Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, 3 were Al-Qaeda in the Indian Sub-Continent (AQIS), 4 were IS, 2 were Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA), and 5 of Baloch Republican Army (BRA). In addition, 24 militants belonging to Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) and 2 from Jamat-ud-Dawa (JuD) were also arrested.1
Please note that FATA was merged into the KP province, partway through 2019. For the purposes of this report, we will treat them as separate regions.