Terrorism in Pakistan

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Terrorism in Pakistan has become a major and highly destructive phenomenon in recent years. The annual death toll from terrorist attacks has risen from 164 in 2003 to 3318 in 2009,[1][2][3] with a total of 35,000 Pakistanis killed between September 11, 2001 and May 2011.[4] According to the government of Pakistan, the direct and indirect economic costs of terrorism from 2000–2010 total $68 billion.[5] President Asif Ali Zardari, along with former President ex-Pakistan Army head Pervez Musharraf, have admitted that terrorist outfits were "deliberately created and nurtured" by past governments "as a policy to achieve some short-term tactical objectives" The trend began with Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq's controversial "Islamization" policies of the 1980s, under which conflicts were started against Soviet involvement in Afghanistan. Zia's tenure as president saw Pakistan's involvement in the Soviet-Afghan War, which led to a greater influx of ideologically driven Muslims (mujahideen) to the tribal areas and increased availability of guns such as the AK-47 and drugs from the Golden Crescent.

The state and its Inter-Services Intelligence, in alliance with the CIA, encouraged the "mujahideen" to fight a proxy war against Soviet forces present in Afghanistan. Most of the mujahideen were never disarmed after the war ended in Afghanistan and some of these groups were later activated at the behest of Pakistan in the form of the Lashkar-e-Taiba, the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen and others like the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). The same groups are now taking on the state itself, making the biggest threat to it and the citizens of Pakistan through the politically motivated killing of civilians and police officials.[citation needed]

From the summer of 2007 until late 2009, more than 1,500 people were killed in suicide and other attacks on civilians[6] for reasons attributed to a number of causes – sectarian violence between Sunni and Shia Muslims; easy availability of guns and explosives; the existence of a "Kalashnikov culture"; an influx of ideologically driven Muslims based in or near Pakistan, who originated from various nations around the world and the subsequent war against the pro-Soviet Afghans in the 1980s which blew back into Pakistan; the presence of Islamist insurgent groups and forces such as the Taliban and Lashkar-e-Taiba; Pakistan's thousands of fundamentalist madrassas (Islamic schools) which are thought by many[who?] to provide training for little other than jihad and secessionists movements – the most significant being the Balochistan liberation movement – blamed on regionalism, which is problematic in a country with Pakistan's diverse cultures, languages, traditions and customs.

List of terrorist incidents in Pakistan[edit]

Causes[edit]

Following imposition of martial law in 1958, Pakistan's political situation suddenly changed and thereafter saw dictatorship type behaviour at different levels appearing in the civil service, the army (those most culpable) and political forces or Zamindars (landlords created by the British) who claimed power, probably because the British originally did not consider Pakistan an independent state, yet did not want to intervene; this trend continued into the 20th century, when finally, the US persuaded General Pervez Musharraf to hold elections. Other causes, such as political rivalry and business disputes, also took their toll. It was estimated in 2005 that more than 4,000 people had died in Pakistan in the preceding 25 years due to sectarian strife.[7] Terrorism in Pakistan originated with supporting the Soviet war in Afghanistan, and the subsequent civil war that continued for at least a decade. The conflict brought numerous fighters from all over the world to South Asia in the name of jihad. The mujahideen fighters were trained by Pakistan's military, American CIA and other western intelligence agencies who carried out insurgent activities inside Afghanistan well after the war officially ended.

At the end of the Soviet war in Afghanistan, between 1990 and 1996, the Pakistani establishment continued to organize, support and nurture mujahideen groups on the premise that they could be used for proxy warfare in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir and in support of the doctrine of "strategic depth" in Afghanistan through the use of the Taliban.

War on Terrorism in Pakistan[edit]

The post-9/11 War on Terrorism in Pakistan has had two principal elements: the government's battle with jihad groups banned after the attacks in New York, and the U.S. pursuit of Al-Qaeda, usually (but not always) in co-operation with Pakistani forces.

In 2004, the Pakistani army launched a pursuit of Al-Qaeda members in the mountainous area of Waziristan on the Afghan border, although sceptics question the sincerity of this pursuit. Clashes there erupted into a low-level conflict with Islamic militants and local tribesmen, sparking the Waziristan War. A short-lived truce known as the Waziristan accord was brokered in September 2006, This truce was broken by Taliban. They misinterpreted the conditions of truce that led to the annoyance of Pakistani government and armed forces that launched a military operation known as operation "Rah-e-rast" against Taliban in order to clear the area of Taliban.

References[edit]

Bibliography[edit]

  • Hassan Abbas. Pakistan's Drift Into Extremism: Allah, The Army, And America's War On Terror, M.E. Sharpe, 2004. ISBN 0-7656-1497-9
  • Tariq Ali. Can Pakistan Survive? The Death of a State, Penguin Books Ltd, 1983. ISBN 0-14-022401-7
  • Zahid Hussain. Frontline Pakistan: The Struggle with Militant Islam, New York: Columbia University Press, 2007. ISBN 0-231-14224-2

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]