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Pakistan Records Six-Year High in Terror Attacks and Fatalities in 2023

Pakistan Records Six-Year High in Terror Attacks and Fatalities in 2023

In the year 2023, Pakistan experienced a concerning surge in violence, as indicated by the annual security report released by the Centre for Research and Security Studies (CRSS). The report highlighted a total of 1,524 violence-related fatalities and 1,463 injuries resulting from 789 terror attacks and counter-terror operations. Notably, nearly 1,000 fatalities were recorded among civilians and security forces personnel.

The overall fatalities, inclusive of those of outlaws, reached a six-year high, surpassing the levels observed in 2018 and marking the highest since 2017. This disturbing trend reflects a continuous escalation of violence for the third consecutive year, with an increase recorded each year starting from 2021.

Pakistan Records Six-Year High in Terror Attacks and Fatalities in 2023

Regional Centers of Violence

The provinces of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan emerged as the primary centers of violence, accounting for over 90% of all fatalities and 84% of attacks, including incidents of terrorism and security forces operations. In contrast, Punjab and Sindh experienced relatively lower levels of violence, contributing only 8% to the total fatalities in 2023.

Unprecedented Surge in Violence

According to the CRSS report, 2023 witnessed a staggering 56% surge in violence, marking an unprecedented escalation in the last decade. The overall number of fatalities rose from 980 in 2022 to 1,524 in 2023. Balochistan recorded a 57% increase, while Khyber Pakhtunkhwa saw a 55% uptick. Punjab experienced a 96% rise in violence, albeit with a low number of fatalities, while Sindh saw a 26% increase.

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The report highlighted that almost 65% of all violence-related fatalities in 2023 resulted from terrorism, with the remaining 35% arising from security forces operations against outlaws. The country endured 586 terror attacks during the year, with only 17% attributed to banned terror outfits such as TTP, BLA, Daish (Islamic State Khorasan), and others. Security forces conducted 197 operations, resulting in the death of 545 outlaws.

Alarming Upsurge in Sectarian Violence

The CRSS report pointed to an alarming upsurge in sectarian violence, with acts of terrorism targeting religious communities and their places of worship leading to the tragic loss of 203 lives, including 88 security officials.

Militant Attacks Increase: PICSS Report

Another report from the Islamabad-based think tank Pakistan Institute for Conflict and Security Studies (PICSS) corroborated the grim security situation. According to PICSS, Pakistan witnessed an unprecedented surge in militant attacks in 2023, with a 69% increase in attacks, an 81% rise in resultant deaths, and a 60% surge in the number of wounded.

The PICSS report revealed that 2023 saw at least 641 militant attacks, resulting in 974 deaths and 1,351 injuries. This marked a significant increase compared to 2022, which recorded 380 militant attacks resulting in 539 deaths and 836 injuries. Combining militant attacks and security forces actions, the country witnessed over one thousand violent incidents in which 1,511 people were killed and 1,440 were injured.

Regional Breakdown of Militant Attacks

  • Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) recorded the highest number of militant attacks and casualties in 2023, with 419 attacks resulting in 620 deaths and 977 injuries.
  • Balochistan faced 170 militant attacks, causing 285 deaths and 388 injuries.
  • Sindh experienced a 40% rise in militant attacks, with 35 incidents resulting in 39 deaths and 35 injuries.
  • Punjab witnessed an unprecedented rise in militant activities, reporting 14 attacks in 2023 compared to three in 2022.
  • Azad Kashmir, Islamabad, and Gilgit-Baltistan each reported one militant attack during the year.

These reports collectively paint a stark picture of the security challenges faced by Pakistan in 2023, with escalating violence and various regions grappling with the impact of militant activities.