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 11 September 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 and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, 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.

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.[7] Pakistan is the 10th most dangerous country by criminality index.[8]

List of terrorist incidents since 2001[edit]


Terrorism in Pakistan originated with supporting the Soviet–Afghan War, 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.

Former Pakistan's army chief, Gen Raheel shareef accused longtime regional rival India, ill-focused on Pakistan, of seeking to undermine his country's $46 billion Gawader project to build an economic corridor to transport goods from China's western regions through Pakistan. Though, it is not uncommon for Pakistan and India to accuse one another on all troublesome issues. [9]

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 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 21st 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.[10]

War on terrorism[edit]

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 the Taliban. They misinterpreted the conditions of the truce that led to the annoyance of Pakistani government and armed forces that launched a military operation known as operation "Raha-e-Rast" against the Taliban in order to clear the area of Taliban.

Fatalities in terrorist violence in Pakistan, (2000–present)

In 2012, the Pakistani leadership sat down to sort out solutions for dealing with the menace of terrorism and in 2013, political parties unanimously reached a resolution on Monday 9, September 2013, at the All Parties Conference (APC), stating that negotiation with the militants should be pursued as their first option to counter terrorism.[11]

With the terrorists attaks continuing in late 2013 the political leadership in Pakistan initiated a military operation against terrorists named Operation Zarb-e-Azb; a joint military offensive against various militant groups, including the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Jundallah, al-Qaeda, the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) and the Haqqani network.[12][citation needed] The operation was launched by the Pakistan Armed Forces on 15 June 2014 in North Waziristan (part of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas along the Afghan border) as a renewed effort against militancy in the wake of the 8 June attack on Jinnah International Airport in Karachi, for which the TTP and the IMU claimed responsibility.[13][citation needed]


  1. ^ "Why They Get Pakistan Wrong by Mohsin Hamid". The New York Review of Books. 2011-09-29. Retrieved 2013-06-20.
  2. ^ Agencies. "War on terror: Pakistan reminds Americans of its sacrifices, with an ad". The Express Tribune. Retrieved 2013-06-20.
  3. ^ "Growing Terrorism in Pakistan". Peace Kashmir. 12 September 2011. Retrieved 2013-06-20.
  4. ^ Pakistan: A failed state or a clever gambler?
  5. ^ Why they get Pakistan wrong| Mohsin Hamid| NYRoB 29 September 2011
  6. ^ Agence France Press Two bomb blasts kill 27 in northwest Pakistan
  7. ^ NIH. "Terrorism in Pakistan: the psychosocial context and why it matters". British Journal of Psychology. Retrieved 2018-11-21.
  8. ^ [1]
  9. ^ http://moderndiplomacy.eu/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=1348:india-blatantly-destabilizing-pakistan&Itemid=645
  10. ^ Pakistan 'extremist leader' held BBC News
  11. ^ http://tribune.com.pk/story/601864/prior-to-apc-imran-khan-briefly-meets-kayani-nawaz/
  12. ^ US commander commends Zarb-e-Azb for disrupting Haqqani network's ability to target Afghanistan 6 November 2014., The Express Tribune
  13. ^ Gunmen kill 13 at Karachi's Jinnah International Airport 9 June 2014., BBC News


  • 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
  • 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]