ISLAMABAD: The outgoing year is quite significant as this marked the first year since 2004 that there were no drone strikes in Pakistan, as compared to four drone attacks in last year, resulting in death of 13 militants.
According to the Annual Security Report 2019 released by the Centre for Research and Security Studies (CRSS), a drastic decline was witnessed in terror and counter-terror related fatalities in the outgoing year, as 30.71 per cent drop in fatalities was observed in 2019, declining from 980 in 2018 to 679 in 2019, which indicated significant improvement in security situation in the country.
However, the most significant development of the drone strike related development as no drone strikes reported, as since 2004, the US drone strikes were quite common in Pakistan especially its bordering areas with Afghanistan.
The report showed that the largest drop in fatalities was observed in Balochistan (44.2 per cent), followed by erstwhile Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) (39 per cent), which were once known for terror-related incidents.
The data showed that 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 per cent, while civilian fatalities declined by about 36 per cent.
According to the report, if the Khyber Pukhtunkhwa (KP) province and the former FATA are counted as separate regions, Balochistan still remains most affected of militancy and insurgency. The largest drop in fatalities was observed in Balochistan (44.2 per cent), as a total of 405 fatatlities were reported in 2018 as compared to 226 in 2019. Similarly, 39 per cent drop in fatalities was observed in FATA, as 192 fatalities were reported in 2018 as compared to 117 in 2019.
The report showed that the drop in fatalities was observed in Sindh (19 per cent), and Punjab (11.8 per cent), in KP 5 per cent, while no fatality reported in Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) in the outgoing year.
The report indicated that nearly 370 terror attacks were reported during 2019 that left 518 persons dead in the country, as compared to 739 fatalities in 400 terror attacks in 2018. Suicide attacks also declined significantly this year, dropping from 26 in 2018 to 9 this year, resulting in the loss of life of 295 individuals in 2018, but dropped to 56 persons in 2019.
The report showed although civilians were the most terrorism-affected group, the overall civilian fatalities declined by about 36 per cent. Government and security officials’ fatalities were dropped by 19 per cent while the militants and insurgents had a 30 per cent drop in their fatalities.
According to the report, the number of attacks and associated fatalities dropped significantly, as the 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.