Quarterly Security Report Q3, July-Sept 2020

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171

M. Nafees

Casualties from Violence in Pakistan

A total of 132 fatalities from violence were recorded during the third quarter of 2020 with 162 people injured. Nearly 58% of the total fatalities were recorded in Khyber Pukhtunkhwa (KP) (including former FATA)[1], while Balochistan had the next highest number of fatalities (23), followed by Sindh (19), Gilgit Baltistan (GB) (7), Punjab (6), and Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) (1). While Punjab and Islamabad appeared to be the least affected by violence, KP and Balochistan were the worst affected regions of the country.

Most troublingly, reports appeared in the press warning of the resurgence of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in the former FATA region and its possible reappearance in Karachi (table 01).

Table 01: Casualties from violence by region – Q3, 2020
RegionFatalitiesInjuriesTotal
Khyber Pukhtunkhwa (KP)7646122
Balochistan236689
Sindh194867
Punjab628
Gilgit Baltistan (GB)707
Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT)101
Grand Total132162294

A marginal drop in violence (5%) was observed during this quarter, but the number of wounded persons was higher this quarter compared to the previous one (162 in Q3 versus 46 in Q2, an increase of over 350%). The reasons for this are discussed later in the report (table 2).

Table 02: Fatalities from violence by region – Q2 vs Q3 2020
RegionQ2Q3% Change
Khyber Pukhtunkhwa (KP)8376-8.4%
Balochistan21239.5%
Sindh2619-26.9%
Gilgit Baltistan (GB)07n/a
Punjab660.0%
Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT)31-66.7%
Grand Total139132-5.0%

Both July and September recorded higher number of fatalities while August witnessed a significant drop on average (table 03).

Table 03: Comparative data on fatalities by month  – Q2 vs Q3 2020
MonthQ2Q3% Change
April vs July 2020445320.5%
May vs August 20205132-37.3%
June vs September 202044476.8%
 Total139132-5.0%

North Waziristan and Karachi remained atop the list of districts in terms of fatalities from violence.  South Waziristan, Killa Abdullah, Nowshera, Rajanpur, and Awaran experienced a sudden uptick in fatalities from violence. All provincial capital cities except Lahore, the provincial capital of Punjab, remained relatively peaceful for both quarters in a row (table 04).

Table 04: Fatalities by district – Q2 vs Q3 2020
Districts/Agency/RegionQ2Q3
North Waziristan4734
Karachi1817
Chilas07
Peshawar47
South Waziristan17
Killa Abdullah06
Bajaur85
Nowshera05
Rajanpur05
Awaran04
Panjgur54
Dera Ismail Khan03
Kech03
Khyber03
Tank13
Kohat32
Kurram22
Mashkhel02
Quetta01
Dir01
Haripur01
Islamabad31
Khuzdar01
Mastung11
Mohmand31
Sukkur21
Swabi01
Swat21
Tando Allahyar01
Taxila01
Turbat01
Badin10
Bahawalpur40
Bannu10
Batkhela10
Bolan70
Buner30
Chakwal10
Dukki10
Ghotki30
Jacobabad10
Kalat10
Kandhkot10
Lahore00
Lakki Marwat70
Makran60
Rawalpindi10
Grand Total139132

One suicide attack took place during this quarter which caused injuries to three soldiers in the Ladha area of South Waziristan on 12 August 2020, but no intended fatalities. All other forms of violence remained almost as fatal as they were in the last quarter, with the exception of encounters of security personnel with criminals which left 13 outlaws dead as compared to 22 in last quarter. Although the fatalities from bombs, Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), landmines, and hand grenade explosions were 22 persons, the wounded were 138. This is the main reason for the escalation in the number of wounded persons this quarter compared to the previous one (table 05).

Table 05: Comparative fatality data by method – Q2 vs Q3 2020
Method of ViolenceQ2Q3
Ground operation/clashes4037
Gun violence (including target killings)3134
Bombs, IEDs, landmines, hand grenade attacks, other explosions3022
Encounter with law enforcement agencies (including suspected)2213
Armed attacks1112
Dead body found511
Others (including stabbing and burnt to death)03
 Total139132

Civilians were the largest group affected by violence and counter-violence this quarter, a nearly 43% increase over the last quarter from 40 to 59. Security personnel remained the main target of militant attacks during this quarter with 42 fatalities, showing no major drop when compared with last quarter’s figure of 44. As compared to civilian and security personnel’s fatalities, militants and insurgents witnessed a significant drop in their fatalities during this quarter (table 06).

Table 06: Fatalities by type of victims –  Q2 vs Q3 2020
Militants/Criminals/InsurgentsQ2Q3
Militants4116
Criminals63
Insurgents812
Total Militant/Criminal/Insurgent5531
Percentage of total fatalities39.6%22.3%
Government and Security Officials
Security official4342
Government official10
Total Government/Security Official4442
Percentage of total fatalities31.7%30.2%
Civilian
Civilians3552
Politicians32
Religious party13
Journalist10
Religious persons02
Total Civilians4059
Percentage of total fatalities28.8%42.4%
Grand Total139132

Sindhudesh Revolutionary Army (SRA), an insurgent group from Sindh, remained active during this quarter and caused two deaths in Karachi – one former Ranger in Sachal and one activist of Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) in Gulshan-e-Iqbal who was taking part in JI’s rally on Kashmir Day.

Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA), an insurgent group from Balochistan, became active during this quarter and targeted three army personnel in Panjgur on 15 July 2020.

Afghan militants from across the border also carried out attacks on security check posts in the Bajaur area of KP.

About 50-60 drug smugglers in the bordering areas of Balochistan, suspected of having links with militant outfits, also carried out armed attacks on Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) in Mashkhel and killed two personnel.

A policeman was gunned down in a targeted attack in Korangi Industrial Area on 19 September 2020 and the TTP claimed responsibility of this attack. All together five policemen were killed in Karachi in target attacks during this quarter and it is suspected that the remaining four attacks were also carried out by TTP. These incidents are considered a sign of TTP’s return to the metropolitan city of Karachi and there is a possibility of more attacks in the future (table 07), especially after the merger of several of their formerly splintered factions.

 Table 07: Fatalities claimed by militant outfits – Q2 2020 vs Q3 2020
Militant outfitQ2Q3
Baloch Liberation Front (BLF)03
Sindhudesh Liberation Army (SRA)22
Drug trafficker02
Afghan militants02
Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP)01
Balochistan Liberation Tigers (BLT)10
Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA)140
Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (HuA – pre-merger)20
Grand Total1910

The number of militants and insurgents that were reported to have been eliminated during security operations were 32 in this quarter. Prominent among them were five insurgents from Balochistan Republican Army (BRA), followed by Balochistan Liberation Front (BLF) (4), TTP (4), Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) (1), and several others who were not identified.

Among the civilians who lost their lives to violence, several of them belonged to minority religious communities and some of them were affiliated with religious parties and organizations. The army personnel were more frequently targeted during this quarter than the policemen. Of the 42 security personnel, 26 were from Pakistan Army, Frontier Corps (FC), ANF, and Rangers while the remaining were from the police force (table 08).

Table 08: Affiliation of victims of violence/counter violence – Q3 2020
Militants/insurgents/criminals
Affiliation of victims  Fatality
Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA)5
Baloch Liberation Front (BLF)4
Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP)4
Daish – Siraj Raisani’s killer1
Lashkar-e-Jhangviu (LeJ)1
Unknown17
Total32
Civilians
Shia community4
Hindu community2
Jamaat-e-Islami2
Ahmadi Community1
Shia Ismaili community1
Christian community1
Jamaat-ud-Dawa1
Polio team member1
Madressah Ahsan-ul-Madaaris1
Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaaf (PTI)1
Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM)1
Unknown43
Total59
Security/govt. officials
Frontier Corps (FC)7
Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF)2
Army16
Rangers1
Police10
Police – Counterterrorism5
Total42
Grand Total132

Sectarian Violence

KP and Sindh had major incidents of sectarian violence during this quarter while Balochistan and Punjab experienced very few incidents (table 09). It was also quite alarming to see hate-filled sectarian rallies in the largest city of the country (Karachi), as well as the federal capital, a few miles from the parliament.

Table 09: Fatalities from sectarian violence – Q3 2020
ProvinceFatalitiesInjuriesTotal
Balochistan145
Khyber Pukhtunkhwa (KP)505
Punjab022
Sindh303
Total9615

There was a sudden upsurge in sectarian violence in the country. During the last quarter, only one fatality from sectarian violence was reported as compared to 9 fatalities during this quarter. Shia community was hit the hardest. A Christian and an Ahmadi were killed in Peshawar, and one person from the Shia community was killed in D.I. Khan, and two in Kohat. In Karachi, a person belonging to Shia community and another from Shia Ismaili community were targeted while a Hindu doctor was killed in Tando Allahyar. In Khuzdar, Balochistan, one Hindu businessman was the victim of target killing while four people were injured in an IED explosion near a mosque in Quetta (table 10).

Table 10: Fatalities by religion from sectarian violence – Q2 vs Q3 2020
Religion of victimsQ2Q3
Ahmadi01
Christian01
Hindu02
Ismaili01
Shia14
Total19

[1] FATA has been merged with KP but we still maintain its data separately because it was and still is the main hub of militancy.