Terrorist attacks fell 29 percent in 2016 to lowest level in 11 years

KARACHI: Terrorist attacks in Pakistan have fallen by 29 percent in 2016 to 441 incidents YoY, which is down 83 percent from the peak of 2,586 incidents in 2009, as per Pakistan Security Report 2016 (PIPS).

Within that, 85 percent (78 percent in 2015) of the attacks occurred in the areas of FATA, Baluchistan and KPK, which accounts for 19 percent of total country population with no major agricultural, industrial or business activity. Here, effective implementation of National Action Plan (NAP) and improvement in counter terrorism approach are necessary to sustain/complement the gains.

Despite the significant improvement in the security situation, Global Terrorism Index still categorizes Pakistan as 4th most dangerous country, worse than the India’s 8th position. However, terrorism in Pakistan is declining compared to the region, therefore, we believe Pakistan position would improve in global indices once recent security situation, based on 2016 data, is incorporated.

To recall, 2015 was the year when Pakistan, as a state and society, came up with the resolution against terrorism, also called as National Action Plan (NAP). Under the plan, military operations in FATA, Rangers-led surgical strikes in Karachi, FC’s counterinsurgency raids in Baluchistan and intelligence based operations in Punjab and KPK were initiated.

The marked improvement is much appraisable as Pakistan is amongst the 5 countries (Iraq, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Pakistan & Syria) suffering the highest impact from the global terrorism wave. As the Pakistan forces have wiped out most of the first line militants, the half-trained are now looking for soft targets while the rising ratio of unsuccessful attacks hints Pakistan is moving towards terrorist cleanup.

“We believe the security situation would further improve in 2017 as Pakistan Army is continuing with its operations and all social/religious/political groups are dissociating themselves from the advocates of extremism. Pakistan story, which came in the limelight after the economic recovery, energy projects initiations and CPEC, is complemented by improved security situation where Pakistan benchmark equity index KSE100 is likely to re-rate to 56,000 levels by Dec 2017,” Zeeshan Afzal at Insight Securities said.

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