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‘Sindhi separatists carried out 10 terror attacks across province in 2020’

Sindhi separatist groups perpetrated 10 terrorist attacks across the province, including the provincial capital of Karachi, and responsibility for eight of them was claimed by the Sindhudesh Revolutionary Army (SRA) alone, according to an annual security report.

Eighteen terrorist attacks were carried out in Sindh — 15 of them in Karachi and three others in the interior parts of the province — which left 20 people dead and 66 others injured, according to the Pakistan Security Report 2020 of the Islamabad-based think tank Pak Institute for Peace Studies (PIPS).

In December the SRA had claimed responsibility for the attacks on two Chinese nationals in Karachi. In both the attacks, their Chinese targets had escaped unhurt. The group also claimed to have attacked the paramilitary Rangers officials and a pro-Kashmir rally of the Jamaat-e-Islami in the city in August.

On May 7 the Ministry of Interior had banned the SRA, the Sindhudesh Liberation Army and the Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz-Arisar for their involvement in terror activities in the province.

Overall in the country, expounded the report, marking a decline of over 36 per cent compared to the preceding year, different militant, ethnic insurgent and violent sectarian groups perpetrated a total of 146 terrorist attacks across Pakistan in 2020, including three suicide blasts.

These attacks claimed a total of 220 lives — a decline of 38 per cent from those killed in such attacks in 2019 — and injured another 547 people.

Out of the total 146 attacks, 95 were perpetrated by religiously inspired militant groups, another 44 by Baloch and Sindhi ethnic insurgents, and seven attacks were sectarian-related, reads the report.

While six Baloch insurgent groups were found active in Balochistan in 2020, the Balochistan Liberation Army and the Baloch Liberation Front were the two major groups that carried out 24 of the total 34 attacks perpetrated by Baloch insurgents.

Taliban

The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and its affiliates remained the major actors of instability in Pakistan in the year 2020, perpetrating a combined total of 67 terrorist attacks, or about 46 per cent of the total reported attacks, mainly in recently merged districts of FATA.

The TTP also successfully brought its few breakaway factions and some other militant groups and commanders into its fold. Another religiously inspired militant group, namely the Islamic State, perpetrated two major attacks in Quetta and Peshawar.

Extremism

Despite this statistical decline in incidents of terrorism, the PIPS report underlined that the more severe challenge of religious extremism continued to manifest in 2020.

It cited the examples of the enormous gathering at Khadim Hussain Rizvi’s funeral in Lahore, the anti-Shia demonstrations, the growing individual and mob attacks on minority communities and their worship places, the persisting narratives of hatred and hate speech online and offline, and the continuing activities of banned religious organisations.

PIPS observed that there is also little evidence to suggest that the National Action Plan has been successful in countering these and other related challenges. It also observed that the problem is linked with Pakistan’s efforts to comply with the FATF conditions by February 2021 in order to get off the grey list.




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