The violence-related casualties in October was reduced to 568 from the 1,048 reported in September
The month of October witnessed a significant decline in violence-related casualties bringing some relief to the terror-ridden people of the country. However, the issues related to security and peace remained the most common topics of attention for the people and media alike. To tackle terrorism and heinous crimes in the country, the President promulgated the Protection of Pakistan Ordinance on 21st October 2013. It was met with a mixed reaction of approval and disapproval from different political quarters.
The monthly report on violence based casualties was compiled by Center for Research and Security Studies.
The report says while the country was debating the new counter-terrorism ordinance, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif left for the USA with a resolve to convince the US administration to stop drone strikes in Pakistan. To the dismay of the PM and his team, the communique issued after his meeting with President Obama carried no mention of drone attacks that motivated many critics to call the visit a failure.
The polio eradication programme, facing threat of attacks by militants, reached an alarming situation where a ban on foreign travel by Pakistani nationals became a possibility. This increased the vulnerability of a large number of children to polio attack and left many parents to live in a state of fear. Amid these threats and other crimes of the militants, the subject of holding talks with the outlawed Taliban continued to motivate the government to give peace a chance. The pros and cons of such a venture invited debate in the media and, in most of the cases, the ideological identity rather than the nature of heinous crimes remained a deciding factor in taking sides. While the victims of violence continued to lose their lives, the militants enjoyed unconditional assurances from the government for reconciliatory talks.
The violence-related casualties in October 2013 came down to 568 (291 dead and 277 wounded) from the figure of 1,048 reported last month (September), a reduction of almost 50\% in the crime rate (See Graph 1 and Table 1). These casualties (568 persons) for the whole month of October were even less than the casualties reported during the last nine days (610 persons) of September. However, it remains to be seen as to whether this improvement in the law and order situation will last or if it will turn out to be a temporary phase of calm waiting for another opportune time to resurface.
In this month, Sindh counted more deaths than KPK and Balochistan combined. Like always, the Punjab and the Capital enjoyed relatively peaceful situation compared to the rest of the country (See Graph 2). On district level, Karachi lost the highest number of people to violence compared to all other districts of the country.
Target killing was one of the major causes of deaths followed by acts of terrorism, militants' attack and the counter-terrorist operation by the security agencies. The highest victims of target killings were reported from Karachi (75 persons), KPK (17), Balochistan (19), Punjab (11), Capital (8), and FATA (3). This scenario of violence looked different when we counted the number of people wounded due to different acts of violence in the country. The incidents of terrorism and militants' act caused injuries to 236 people while target killings resulted in wounding 27 persons during this month. The full report may be seen here.
Despite ongoing security operations in Karachi the menace of target killings is still taking its toll in the city though a significant reduction in the number of victims has been observed since the PM gave a go-ahead for an operation in September 2013.
The declining graph of both kinds of violence, target killings and all other acts of violence, is a proof that the targeted operation against the criminals is yeilding positive results and it is also proving a point that a well-planned and and indiscrminite security operation against criminals can improve law and order situation in the country if all stakeholders, political and religious parties and civil and military administrations, reach a consensus that violence under any name won't be acceptable for any reason. Unfortunately, the country is highly divided on this subject.
The report says, all these events and many other facts reported in national newspapers are collected to make this report as informative and factual as possible. Errors and omissions, as always a possibility in all statistical works including this one, are expected. However, such mistakes do not grossly affect the basic objective of this report. This report mainly covers the following topics:
Targeted operation in Karachi Counter-Terrorism (Pakistan Protection) Ordinance Militants' attacks Incidents of sabotage Polio vaccination and terrorism Drone attacks
CRSS will appreciate receiving comments that the readers may have on this report.
Report prepared by: Mohammad Nafees, Senior Research Fellow,Center for Research and Security Studies, data compilation by: Fariha Farry
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About AHRC: The Asian Human Rights Commission is a regional non-governmental organisation monitoring and lobbying human rights issues in Asia. The Hong Kong-based group was founded in 1984