Uncovering Pakistan’s Natural Wonders: The Majesty of its Mountains, Rivers, and Wildlife

3 mins read

Pakistan is a country that is most well-known for its lively culture and extensive history; yet, the country also has a wide variety of natural beauties that are sometimes disregarded. The impressiveness of Pakistan’s mountain ranges, the importance of the country’s rivers, the abundance of the country’s animal life, and the possibility of developing ecotourism in these regions.

The natural landscape of Pakistan is very varied, consisting of high-altitude mountains, enormous deserts, lush valleys, and rich river plains. The nation is home to some of the highest peaks in the world, such as K2 and Nanga Parbat, as well as the massive Indus River, which for millennia has been an important factor in the country’s agriculture and economy.

The Himalayas, Karakoram, and Hindu Kush Mountain ranges are all located in Pakistan, making it the home to some of the most impressive mountain ranges in the world. Mountaineers and others looking for exciting new experiences from all over the globe go to these mountain ranges because of the high peaks, deep valleys, and glaciers that may be found there. The Karakoram range is home to K2, the second-highest peak in the world. This mountain is famous for the technical challenges it presents as well as the stunning views it offers. The Karakoram Mountain range in Pakistan was breathtaking to see. There was nothing else quite like the towering peaks and expansive glaciers.

In addition to these well-known summits, Pakistan is home to several mountain ranges that are less well-known, such as the Kirthar and Sulaiman ranges. These regions provide one-of-a-kind possibilities for hiking, seeing native species, and discovering local culture.

The rivers that run across Pakistan, such as the Indus, Jhelum, and Chenab, have all been significant contributors to the nation’s history and overall growth. These rivers are an essential resource for agriculture and business since they provide water that may be used for irrigation, transportation, and the generation of hydroelectric power.

White water rafting and fishing are only two of the recreational activities that may be enjoyed on Pakistan’s rivers. Specifically, those searching for an exciting rafting experience go to the Indus River, which is a popular location for those interested in adventure.

Pakistan is benefiting from the rich economic center platform that the Gwadar coast is giving. The fishing industry in these regions is highly regarded throughout the globe. With efforts by the government to construct infrastructure to showcase the undiscovered parts of Pakistan, the less developed areas are now attracting the attention of the world community. This is a result of the efforts that have been made to expose the uncharted areas of Pakistan.

The natural environment of Pakistan is home to a diverse array of animal life, including a great number of species that are exclusive to the territory of Pakistan. The snow leopard, for instance, is a flagship species that is only found in the high-altitude regions of Pakistan. It is a symbol of the country’s tremendous biodiversity since it can only be found in those areas. Other emblematic animals include the markhor, a kind of wild goat that lives in the highlands of Pakistan, and the Indus River dolphin, a species of freshwater dolphin that is indigenous to the Indus River. Both of these dolphins are unique to the Indus River.

The protection of these one-of-a-kind species and the environments in which they live is dependent on the success of conservation efforts. In an attempt to maintain its natural heritage, Pakistan has created several national parks and protected areas; nevertheless, Pakistan must continue its efforts to guarantee that these regions will be preserved for the benefit of future generations.

The natural beauties of Pakistan have a significant impact on the country’s tourist industry and provide possibilities for cultural discovery, outdoor activities, and animal watching. But, to preserve the natural environment and its inhabitants, tourism must be grown in a way that is both sustainable and responsible.

A lack of infrastructure and accessibility in distant parts of Pakistan, as well as concerns over safety and security, are some of the obstacles to the development of sustainable tourism in Pakistan. Nonetheless, there are already attempts being made to solve these difficulties, and sustainable tourism has the potential to give economic advantages to local people while also protecting the natural legacy of the nation.

Being in the middle of such breathtaking natural beauty brought home to me how vital it is to protect these regions for the sake of future generations. Contributing to conservation efforts is essential to ensure that these areas maintain their pristine state.

The land of Pakistan is home to an abundance of natural beauties that are sure to take your breath away. Pakistan provides tourists with an experience that is one of a kind and one that they will never forget, thanks to the country’s majestic mountains, flowing rivers, and diversified animal population. It is impossible to exaggerate the significance of these natural marvels since they play a vital part in ensuring the sustainability of the nation’s economy, culture, and environment.

Pakistani Brothers Finally Leave Guantanamo Bay After 20 Years Without Charge or Trial

1 min read

After spending two decades of their lives in the notorious Guantanamo Bay detention center on the U.S. Navy base in Cuba without any charge or trial, two Pakistani brothers were finally sent home by the U.S. authorities on February 23.

Abdul Rabbani (55) and Mohammed Rabbani (53) were first arrested by Pakistani authorities in 2002 from Karachi and were transferred to the CIA’s custody. The detention center at Guantanamo Bay was first established under former U.S. President George W. Bush’s administration as part of the so-called “global war on terrorism” after the September 11, 2001, attacks, with the objective of bypassing legal obligations related to detainees.

The brothers were accused by the U.S. of helping Al Qaeda operatives by providing them with shelter and other logistical support. However, they were never charged or tried formally.

They have accused the CIA of torturing them in custody before transferring them to Guantanamo Bay.

According to reports, at least 779 people have been detained at Guantanamo Bay since it was established in January 2002—it was constructed illegally in a U.S.-occupied part of Cuba. Over the years, many prisoners have been transferred to third countries or repatriated, especially after global attention was directed toward the human rights violations taking place at the facility following the publication of the Gitmo files by WikiLeaks.

According to the Associated Press, there are 32 more detainees in Guantanamo, of whom 18 are “eligible” for transfer—meaning they are not facing any charges or trial and will be transferred once countries willing to take them are found.

CPEC plays pivotal role in promoting green development in Pakistan, say experts

1 min read

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a flagship project under the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), has been playing a pivotal role in promoting green development in Pakistan, highlighting China’s commitment to harmonious coexistence of human beings and nature, Pakistani officials and experts said.

Talking to Xinhua, Convener of National Parliamentary Task Force on Sustainable Development Goals, Romina Khurshid Alam, said the cooperation between Pakistan and China under the CPEC in the fields of energy, transport, agriculture and industrial production has helped Pakistan boost green, low-carbon sustainable development.

Besides assisting Pakistan in overcoming energy crisis and infrastructure upgrading through the CPEC, Chinese companies in Pakistan have been strictly following international and local standards on safety and environmental protection, Alam said.

In implementing infrastructure projects, ecological factors have been fully considered and a number of green and clean energy projects including solar, wind and hydropower have been completed across the Asian country over the past several years, reducing carbon emissions and contributing to economic development, environment protection and improvement of living standards of the locals, said the official.

Citing the example of recently completed 720-megawatt Karot hydropower project, Alam said that a comprehensive biodiversity management plan was developed for construction and operation stages of the project to protect environment and wildlife around the project site.

Pakistan and China have further stepped up their cooperation in green energy for the benefit of the region under the CPEC, helping Pakistan mitigate the adverse impacts of climate change, said Hassan Daud Butt, senior advisor at the China Study Center of the Sustainable Development Policy Institute, an Islamabad-based think tank.

“Pakistan is one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change, with the country facing the worst climate-induced catastrophic floods recently. As the CPEC is making progress, it can help the country to tackle the climate change issue by increasing investment in renewable energy, green building construction, decreasing energy loss, and innovative practices such as green finance and other measures,” Butt told Xinhua.

Photo taken on Sept. 6, 2021 shows a view of the Lahore Converter Station of the ±660kV Matiari-Lahore high-voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission line project under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) on the outskirts of Lahore, in Pakistan’s eastern Punjab province. (State Grid Corporation of China/Handout via Xinhua)

Calling the CPEC a game changer and a green corridor, Shakeel Ahmad Ramay, chief executive officer of the Asian Institute of Eco-civilization Research and Development, said that the flagship project of the BRI is people-centric, environmentally friendly, inclusive and green and sustainable initiative.

China has been utilizing new technologies and making investments in BRI partner countries to support green development. Pakistan can learn from the Chinese experience and technology to realize its vision of high-quality green and sustainable development, Ramay told Xinhua.

“The CPEC has changed the landscape of Pakistan and has accelerated growth while bringing about socio-economic benefits for the people of Pakistan … China’s commitment to promoting carbon-free global economy is commendable,” he said.

Why Pakistan Defies the Failed State Narrative?

3 mins read

Despite the worst pandemic (Covid-19) and flood destruction, Pakistan is anticipated to grow at a 3.2% annual rate in FY 2023/24, according to a World Bank estimate.

Pakistan has long been associated with negative stereotypes, with many seeing it as a failing state. Poverty, terrorism, political instability, and corruption have all been problems for the country. Despite these challenges, Pakistan has demonstrated amazing resilience and success.

Pakistan was established in 1947 as a result of the partition of British India. At its foundation, the country faced various problems, including the migration of millions of people and the formation of a new administration. Pakistan’s early years were defined by political instability, with numerous changes in administration and periods of martial law. Throughout Pakistan’s history, the military has played an important role, with various military coups taking place.

In the face of various adversities, Pakistan has demonstrated incredible resilience and success, and several variables contribute to this resilience.

Economic progress:

Pakistan has achieved significant economic growth in recent years, with its GDP growing at an average rate of 5.2% per year between 2013 and 2018. The agriculture sector in Pakistan is a vital component of the country’s food security and economic stability, providing a foundation for resilience. This growth has been driven by industries such as IT and textiles, with Pakistan becoming one of the largest exporters of textiles, which account for the majority of Pakistan’s exports, valued at $19.33 billion in 2022 in the world. The IT industry has also seen significant growth, with the government actively promoting the sector as a key driver of economic growth.

According to the World Bank, the poverty rate in Pakistan has decreased from 64.3% in 2002 to 24.3% in 2015. However, major obstacles exist, particularly in rural regions. The government has made initiatives to address the issues of poverty, unemployment, and inequality, including the introduction of a poverty alleviation program and the implementation of a national minimum wage. However, more must be done to guarantee that the advantages of economic progress are more fairly distributed.

Political progress:

Pakistan has achieved substantial political progress in recent years, with civilian administrations peacefully transferring power. There has also been more journalistic freedom, with more coverage of political and social topics. To further reinforce democratic processes, the administration has made initiatives to strengthen institutions such as the judiciary and the Election Commission. To improve democratic institutions, the administration is aiming to increase openness and accountability.

Security Improvement:

In recent years, Pakistan has experienced considerable security challenges, including terrorism and regional wars. Terrorist assaults have long plagued the country, with the most recent being the 2014 attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar, which killed 132 students and 9 staff members. Regional crises, notably the ongoing violence in neighboring Afghanistan, have also had an impact on the country.

Despite these difficulties, Pakistan’s military and security forces have achieved tremendous advances in battling terrorism and enhancing security. Pakistan boasts a robust military, which serves to preserve stability and protect its territorial sovereignty. The commencement of Operation Zarb-e-Azb in 2014 was a watershed moment in Pakistan’s counter-terrorism efforts, with the military effectively striking terrorist strongholds in tribal areas. As a result, the number of terrorist attacks in Pakistan has reduced dramatically, with a 62% decline in the number of events and an 83% decrease in the number of deaths between 2014 and 2019.

Pakistan has also made progress in improving regional security, particularly through its role in the Afghan peace process. Pakistan has played a key role in facilitating peace talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government, to promote stability and security in the region.

Social progress:

Pakistan has made significant progress in recent years in improving social indicators such as education, healthcare, and gender equality. The government has invested heavily in improving access to education, particularly for girls, with the number of out-of-school children decreasing by 22% between 2017 and 2019. According to UNESCO, Pakistan’s literacy rate has improved from 43% in 1998 to 63% in 2017. Healthcare has also improved, with the government launching several initiatives to increase access to healthcare services and improve the quality of care.

Pakistan has made strides toward gender equality, notably through legal measures such as the Protection of Women Against Violence Act and the Criminal Law Amendment Act. Women’s representation in Pakistan’s National Assembly has increased from 20.7% in 2013 to 20.9% in 2018. Civil society has been critical in advancing social change, notably via lobbying and awareness-raising initiatives on topics like gender-based violence and child marriage.

Continued investment in economic growth, political stability, and social advancement is required for Pakistan to build on its achievements and tackle the remaining problems. The overseas diaspora has historically helped the country in times of need through remittances and foreign direct investment. Friendly countries such as China, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates are also assisting the country in overcoming its economic difficulties.

Balochistan: Cycles of Repression and Reaction

8 mins read

On February 10, 2023, two Army personnel were killed in an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) explosion in the Kohlu area (Kohlu District) of Balochistan. Based on credible intelligence, a sanitisation operation was initiated by Security Forces (SFs) when an IED explosion resulted in the death of two soldiers.

On February 5, 2023, six Army personnel were killed and an unspecified number of others sustained injuries, when Balochistan Liberation Front (BLF) cadres attacked Brigadier Shahid Nadeem’s convey with an IED, on the Quetta-Sibi National Highway in the Sirajabad area of the Bolan District. BLF ‘spokesman’ Gwahram Baloch claimed responsibility.

On February 5, 2023, one SF trooper, identified as Tanveer, was killed and another eight were injured in a suicide blast in the Gulistan Road area of Quetta, the provincial capital of Balochistan. The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility for the attack.

On February 3, 2023, four Pakistan Coast Guard (PCG) personnel were killed and another five were injured when Baloch Liberation Army (BLA) cadres attacked a patrolling team with a remote-controlled bomb and firing with automatic weapons, in the Jeemuri area of Gwadar District. BLA ‘spokesman’ Azad Baloch claimed responsibility for the attack.

According to partial data compiled by the South Asia Terrorism Portal (SATP), Balochistan has recorded 36 Security Force (SF) personnel fatalities in 22 terrorism-related incidents so far, in the current year (data till February 19, 2023). During the corresponding period of 2022, the province had recorded 33 SF fatalities in 14 terrorism-related incidents. Through 2022, 202 SF fatalities were recorded in the province, a rise of 92.38 per cent over year 2021, at 105 SF fatalities. In terms of SF fatalities, the 2022 tally was the highest, at 202, since the SATP database started documenting fatalities in Pakistan. The preceding high in the province was 177 in 2012, at a time when terrorism was rampaging across Pakistan.

The overall fatalities in Balochistan in 2022 totalled 406 (88 civilians, 202 SF personnel and 116 terrorists) in 160 incidents of killing, as against 308 such fatalities (111 civilians, 107 SF personnel, and 90 terrorists) in 111 such incidents in 2021, registering an increase of 31.82 per cent.

Incidents of killing increased from 111 in 2021 to 160 in 2022. Incidents of killing had dropped from 148 in 2016 to 82 in 2017, 69 in 2018, 48 in 2019 and 76 in 2020. Similarly, major incidents (each involving three or more fatalities) increased from 40 in 2021 to 52 in 2022, and the resultant fatalities from 200 to 271. The number of explosions and resultant fatalities increased from 66 and 92, respectively, in 2021, to 94 and 100, respectively, in 2022. The number of suicide attacks remained the same, two each in 2021 and 2022.The two suicide attacks in 2022 were:

November 30: A Policeman and a child were killed, while 24 others, including 20 Policemen, were injured in a suicide blast targeting a Police truck in the Baleli area of Quetta. The blast targeted a Police team preparing to escort polio vaccinators. TTP claimed responsibility for the attack.

March 8: A suicide bomb explosion at the Jail Road of Sibbi town (Sibbi District) killed seven SF personnel and wounded another 28. The explosion occurred as President Arif Alvi was in the city, which was holding the Sibbi Mella (Fair), a well-known annual festival. Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility for the attack.

Even as all parameters of violence indicate that the overall security situation in Balochistan has deteriorated significantly in 2022, enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killing of ethnic Baloch by the security apparatus have been rampant. The annual report released on January 12, 2023, by Paank, the human rights organization of the Baloch National Movement (BNM), recorded that the Pakistan Army forcibly disappeared 629 persons, extra-judicially killed 195, and tortured 187. The report declared that year 2022 was full of human tragedy in Balochistan, with mass punishment, forced disappearances, murders, massacres and violence.

According to the report, in January 2022, 92 forced disappearances, 15 murders were recorded, and one person was tortured by the Army in Balochistan.  95 enforced disappearances, 42 murders and 5 cases of torture were reported in February. In March, 62 people were forcibly ‘disappeared’, 19 were killed and six were tortured. 50 enforced disappearances, 39 murders and 18 cases of torture were reported in April. 61 enforced disappearances, five murders and 22 cases of torture were reported in May. In June, 26 people forcibly disappeared, and 11 people were murdered. In July, 46 people forcibly disappeared, 16 were killed, and 28 were tortured. 55 forced disappearances, five murders and 37 cases of torture were reported in August. In September, 30 forced disappearances, two murders were recorded, and 19 people were tortured. In October, 38 people were forcibly ‘disappeared’, 15 were killed, and 18 were tortured. In November, 36 people were forcibly ‘disappeared’, 23 were killed, and 14 were tortured. 38 enforced disappearances and two murders were recorded, and 19 people were tortured, in December 2022.

On January 30, 2023, under the Universal Periodic Review process at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva, member states called on Pakistan to stop enforced disappearances and other human rights abuses, and demanded protection for the people.

The escalating attacks on SFs in Balochistan are substantially a consequence of the continuing frustration among Baloch nationalist groups over the systematic extermination of ethnic Baloch through enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings by Pakistani security agencies, in addition to the persistent neglect of the basic needs of the population.

The systematic campaign of extermination by Pakistani security agencies is being countered by the Baloch insurgent groups through the escalating attacks on SFs. Reprisal attacks by the major Baloch insurgent groups such as the Baloch National Army (BNA), Baloch Liberation Army (BLA), Balochistan Liberation Front (BLF), Balochistan Liberation Tigers (BLT) and United Baloch Army (UBA) resulted in the escalating casualties among SF personnel in 2022.

A strengthening of the Baloch insurgent groups is indicated by the February 2, 2022, simultaneous attacks by BLA cadres on the Panjgur and Nuskhi Army camps in Balochistan, which resulted in 19 fatalities (15 terrorists and four SF personnel). Indeed, while Pakistan Government sources claimed only four SF fatalities, Radio Zrumbesh, quoting BLA ‘spokesman’ Jeehand Baloch, claimed that 45 SF personnel were killed in the attack, when a ‘martyred’ fidayeen (suicide attacker) rammed his explosive-laden vehicle into the main gate of the Frontier Corps headquarters at Nushki, clearing the way for other fidayeen to enter.

After the February 2 attacks, the then Federal Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid, citing intelligence reports, told the media on February 3,

‘Baloch militants are not capable of launching major attacks in Nuskhi and Panjgur. TTP (Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan) has the capability, experience and latest NATO weapons to launch such attacks. There’s some understanding between the TTP and Baloch militants. They have their hideouts in Afghanistan.

The speculation on a TTP-Baloch militant alliance appeared to receive some confirmation when TTP ‘spokesperson’ Mohammad Khurasani congratulated the Baloch insurgent groups for their attacks in Nuskhi and Panjgur. He stated, “The Pakistani Army is carrying out the massacre in Balochistan. We are against the massacre of Balochistan as well as in Waziristan by the Pakistani Army. Our enemy is common.”

Since the February 2, 2022, twin attacks, emboldened Baloch groups have mounted repeated strikes on SFs, including some high-profile operations:

August 1, 2022: Six Army personnel, including Lieutenant General Sarfraz Ali, Corps Commander, XII Corps, were killed in an Army helicopter crash. The helicopter went missing in the Lasbela District of Balochistan in the night of August 1, and the wreckage was found near the Moosa Goth area on August 2. Baloch Raji Ajoi Sanger (BRAS) ‘spokesperson’ Baloch Khan, in a statement to the media, claimed the helicopter had been shot down.

July 15, 2022: BLA cadres shot dead the head of the Counter Terrorism Department (CTD), Eid Muhammad Hassani aka Eido, near Naurozabad Road in Kharan town (Kharan District). BLA ‘spokesman’ Azad Baloch claimed responsibility for the attack, declaring that Eid Muhammad had worked as Station House Officer (SHO) in the Kharan Police Department for many years before joining CTD, and was being used as a pawn by the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). At the behest of the ISI, he used to monitor the movement of Baloch cadres and to barricade the area. Apart from this, he had extra-judicially handed over Baloch youth to secret agencies on fabricated charges or without any grounds.

July 13: Army Lieutenant Colonel Laiq Baig Mirza, who was abducted along with his cousin Umer Javed by BLA cadres near the Warchoom area of Ziarat District, was killed, while five BLA cadres were later killed during an exchange of fire near the Mangi Dam area of same District. BLA ‘spokesperson’ Jeehand Baloch claimed responsibility for the incident, stating that Lieutenant Colonel Mirza was ‘arrested’ in an intelligence-based operation by BLA’s special force, the Special Tactical Operations Squad (STOS). Mirza was a prime target and he was being tracked for days by BLA’s intelligence units. Mirza was ‘arrested’ as an officer of the ‘occupying forces’, and for his direct involvement in the Baloch genocide and grave human rights violations, including enforced disappearances of women and children, among other crimes.

Frustration among Baloch insurgent groups over the enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings by Pakistan security agencies in Balochistan resounded in other Provinces as well:

On February 16, 2023, a blast inside the Quetta-bound Jaffar Express train killed two passengers and injured six others when the train was passing from Chichawatni railway station in Sahiwal District of Punjab. Baloch Nationalist Army (BNA), through its media cell Baask Media, claimed responsibility for the attack.

April 26, 2022: Five persons including three Chinese nationals, their Pakistani driver and a security guard, were killed when a women suicide bomber blew herself up near a van transporting Chinese nationals from a Karachi University (KU) hostel to the Confucius institute in Karachi, the provincial capital of Sindh. BLA claimed responsibility for the attack. The female suicide bomber, Shaari Baloch aka Bramsh, belongs to BLA’s Majeed Brigade, a suicide bomber squad. She was the first Baloch woman suicide bomber. 

January 20, 2022: Three persons were killed and over 33 were injured in a bomb explosion near Pan Mandi in the New Anarkali Bazar area of Lahore, the provincial capital of Punjab. Baloch Nationalist Army (BNA) claimed responsibility for the attack.

State atrocities on Baloch people and the Government’s skewed developmental priorities, focused on exploiting Balochistan’s natural resources without significant benefits for the local population, have also provoked attacks on non-locals in Balochistan. Baloch insurgents targeted ‘outsiders’, especially Punjabis, as they were considered either as agents of the security forces, or were engaged in China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects to exploit their natural resources of the province. According to partial data compiled by SATP, a total of 243 ‘outsiders’ have been killed in Balochistan since August 26, 2006, (data till December 31, 2022). Of these, 187 were Punjabis. Other ‘outsiders’ were also part of the ethnic ‘collateral damage’. Out of 56 non-Punjabi ‘outsiders’, 37 were Sindhis, while the ethnic identity of the remaining 19 remains unconfirmed. The most recent attack was on January 18, 2023, when BLA cadres killed a non-Baloch person on the charges of being an Army agent at Absar in Turbat, the administrative centre of Kech District. BLA ‘spokesman’ Jeehand Baloch claimed responsibility for the killing, disclosing that the intelligence wing of BLA had gathered information that the non-resident, Babo Khan aka Allah Rakhia, was working as an informant for the Pakistani military in Turbat and adjoining areas.

Though there have been no major attacks on China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects, a series of protests have started against Chinese interests in the province under the banner of the Haq Do Tehreek (Give our Rights Movement) led by Maulana Hidayat ur Rehman, who is also the general secretary of Jamaat-e-Islami in Balochistan. The protesters started a sit-in in Gwadar on October 27, 2022, demanded an end to illegal trawling, a major issue for the people of the port city, for whom fishing is one of the very few sources of income. The Government had licensed Chinese trawlers to fish in the waters off the coast, and locals, with their small boats, were unable to compete with their better equipped Chinese competitors.

As the sit-in continues, tens of thousands of protesters, including women and children, blocked an expressway leading to the Gwadar Port, as the Government failed to meet their deadline to act on their demands. On December 10, thousands of women rallied in Gwadar in support of Rehman and the Haq do Tehreek. As tension continued to build, Rehman issued a warning to Chinese nationals working in Gwadar Port to leave, vowing to completely stop work on all CPEC projects in Gwadar. Things turned violent on December 27, a day after negotiations between the Government and movement leaders failed. The Police clashed with protesters in which one Policeman killed while hundreds of protester and many Policemen injured. A number of protesters were taken into custody. After evading the Police for about two weeks, Haq Do Tehreek leader Maulana Hidayat ur Rehman was arrested on January 13, 2023, from the court where he had arrived to surrender, along with two other activists, Nasibullah Nusherwani and Hassan Murad.

On February 12, 2023, instead of addressing the legitimate grievances of the protesters, the Federal Minister of Interior Rana Sanaullah announced that ‘fool proof security’ would be provided to Chinese nationals in Gwadar Port. Sanaullah visited Gwadar, reviewed security arrangements for the Chinese, and declared: “All locals and foreign nationals would be provided fool proof security.”

Balochistan’s long history of discontent due to a denial of basic rights and services, economic exploitation and brutal repression implies that the security situation in the province will remain volatile in the foreseeable future.

The main causes of Pakistan’s escalating economic crisis

3 mins read

The economy of Pakistan is struggling, and it is taking some desperate measures to prevent a collapse. The issue is so severe that the country has decided to sell its embassy property in Washington and ordered markets, wedding venues, restaurants, and shopping centers to shut early to preserve electricity, which is mostly produced by imported oil.

Even though the country’s economy has not been doing well for a while, the crisis has recently gotten worse as a result of a number of factors, including: disproportionately higher government involvement in economic activities, a sizable informal economy, agriculture’s continued role as a major employer of labor, a focus on cotton-related production activities, policies biased toward import-substituting activities, disregard for the services economy in public policies, and a low rate of savings.

The economy of Pakistan is now bound by slow growth, high unemployment and inflation, declining investment, large fiscal deficits, and a worsening external balance situation. Due to limited international capital inflows, significant debt repayments, and a sluggish expansion of foreign revenues, foreign currency reserves are rapidly decreasing. Only one month’s worth of imports can now be paid out of Pakistan’s foreign reserves. These are the results of the economy’s fundamental issues not being addressed promptly. In turn, failure to produce “inclusive” development endangers society’s social order.

Pakistan’s savings rate is consistently low compared to the need for investments. This is one of the key causes of our dependence on foreign funding. When foreign money is unavailable, the investment rate declines even further, negatively impacting employment and the economy. The main causes of Pakistan’s poor private savings are: low or negative real interest rates, insecure income, many dependents, low levels of education, high inflation, a lack of saving culture, etc.

The nation’s energy dilemma is mostly caused by circular debt, untargeted subsidies, distribution issues, and theft. Due to high generating costs relative to the price paid by distribution corporations, the government offers significant subsidies.

Large portions of the economy operate informally and are exempt from national rules and regulations. The informal economy is not included in official statistics since it is not registered. Because of this, the majority of official economic statistics show a dire situation. The informal economy has to be recorded.

Losing State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) uses significant financial resources in addition to paying down massive amounts of debt, hindering economic development and public budgets. The major causes of SOE losses include staff incompetence, overstaffing, inefficiencies, and corruption. The government has been giving SOEs resources to guarantee that these businesses continue to operate. However, SOEs make no real efforts to increase their productivity, efficiency, etc., to make themselves financially viable in the long run. As a result, the government spends significant money annually to ensure SOE existence.

Weak regulatory systems are to blame for a lot of the economic issues. In consequence, inadequate institutional capacity contributes to the lax enforcement of rules and regulations. This is particularly evident regarding how tax and competition rules are applied. People dodge and avoid paying taxes with the help of tax authorities and legal loopholes. The lack of application of competition legislation makes it easier for vendors, in general, to defraud customers on both price and quality.

Pakistan needs to implement economic changes due to its ingrained structural issues. It ought to go slowly while implementing well-thought-out changes. The government must consider the societal effects of changes, such as joblessness, environmental damage, and economic disruption, while enacting them. Additionally, reforms should be planned such that there is no imbalance across the provinces. Strong political will and agreement between the federal and provincial governments are necessary for all of this.

Introduce fundamental changes to the economy, SOEs, and business environment, which will boost investment. The ultimate goal of SOE, restructuring and privatization should be to aid in the restoration of fiscal stability and to increase investor confidence in Pakistan’s future economic prospects and possibilities, which will promote development and job creation. Remove bias from policies discouraging exports, reduce commodity concentration, diversify export markets, and boost exports’ ability to compete globally. This will increase export shares in both international and domestic markets.

To put Pakistan on a path of higher and more inclusive growth, immediate policy changes are required, including: (1 ) strengthening public finances through revenue mobilization, cuts in wasteful and low-priority expenditure, and a strengthened fiscal decentralization framework; (ii) reforming the energy sector to eliminate the power deficit and untargeted subsidies; and (iii) Making the economy less reliant on foreign help for maintaining growth, which would be a significant structural transformation. Though it could take some time, the procedure must start right away. In this sense, policies should be implemented to encourage increased savings among all economic participants.

Any economy’s growth is driven by the private sector. Sadly, the majority of economic policies, particularly those pertaining to finance, are prejudiced against the private sector. As a result, this industry has not had the anticipated effects on the economy. The private sector should permit all economic activity to take the lead, provided that the regulatory framework is efficient. The government’s main responsibility should be to assist the underprivileged with social and physical infrastructure and social safety.

Pakistan: The Curse of Frankenstein

10 mins read

We did not need to make Mujahideen. We created Mujahideen and then they became terrorists- Federal Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah while addressing the Senate on January 31, 2023.

On January 30, 2023, at least 84 persons were killed and another 220 were injured in a suicide blast inside a mosque in the Police Lines area of Peshawar, the provincial capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP). The suicide attacker, who was in Police uniform, was present in the front row during the Zuhr prayer (second prayer offered at noon). The Capital City Police Officer (CCPO), Peshawar, Ejaz Khan, disclosed that around to 300 to 400 Policemen usually offered Zuhr prayers at the venue.

Two Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) leaders, Sarbakaf Mohmand and Omar Mukaram Khurasani, claimed that the attack was “revenge” for the death of the chief of TTP’s splinter group, Jamaat-ul-Ahrar (JuA), Khalid Khorasani, in the Barmal District‎ of ‎Paktika Province of Afghanistan on August 7, 2022. However, TTP central ‘spokesman’ Muhammad Khorasani denied any involvement in the attack. “Regarding the Peshawar incident, we consider it necessary to clarify that Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan has nothing to do with this incident. According to our laws and general constitution, any action in mosques, madrasas, funerals grounds and other sacred places is an offence,” Muhammad Khorasani declared in a statement.

On January 27, 2023, three Army personnel were killed and several others injured when the Baloch Liberation Army (BLA) targeted an Army base from three directions near the Dandaar area of Kolwah town in the Awaran District of Balochistan. BLA ‘spokesman’ Jeehand Baloch claimed responsibility for the attack. “BLA will continue to intensify its attacks against the occupying forces till their full withdrawal from Balochistan”, Jeehand Baloch added.

On January 19, 2023, three Police constables were killed in a suicide attack at the Takhta Beg Police checkpost in Jamrud tehsil (revenue unit) of Khyber District in KP. Police said terrorists armed with hand grenades, entered the premises and opened fire using a sub-machine gun. After the firing, a suicide bomber blew himself up. The TTP claimed responsibility for the attack.

On January 14, 2023, three Policemen, including Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Badaber Sardar Hussain and his two Police guards, Irshad and Jehanzeb, were killed in a terrorist attack on the Sarband Police Station in Peshawar. KP Inspector General of Police (IGP) Moazzam Jah Ansari stated that sniper rifles were used by the terrorists in the incident, for the first time in Peshawar. TTP claimed responsibility for the attack.

According to partial data compiled by the South Asia Terrorism Portal (SATP), Pakistan has recorded 182 terrorism-related fatalities, including 132 Security Force (SF) personnel, 44 terrorists and six civilians, so far, in the current year (data till February 5, 2023). During the corresponding period of 2022, the province recorded 96 such fatalities, including 38 Security Force (SF) personnel, 37 terrorists and 21 civilians.

Meanwhile, overall terrorism-linked fatalities in Pakistan in 2022 had surged to 971 [229 civilians, 379 Security Force (SF) personnel and 363 terrorists], from 663 (214 civilians, 226 SF personnel and 223 terrorists) in 2021, an increase of 46.45 per cent. Reversing the declining trend in Pakistan between 2015 and 2019, overall fatalities have been increasing since 2020. With the return of the Taliban in Afghanistan on August 15, 2021, terrorism has increasingly been spilling over into Pakistan. 

There were 365 incidents of killing in 2022, as compared to 267 in 2021. 113 incidents in 2022 were major (each resulting in three or more fatalities), in which 626 persons were killed (127 civilians, 235 SF personnel and 264 terrorists). There were 88 major attacks (417 fatalities: 140 civilians, 113 SF personnel and 164 terrorists) in 2021. Out of 113 major incidents in 2022, there were 13 suicide attacks resulting in 109 fatalities, including 79 civilians, 17 SF personnel and 13 terrorists. There were only four suicide attacks in 2021, resulting in 25 fatalities, including 15 civilians, six SF personnel and four terrorists.

Other parameters of violence also indicate a worsening security situation in the country. There were 151 incidents of explosion in 2022, resulting in 247 fatalities, including 124 civilians, 98 SF personnel and 25 terrorists. The number of explosions reported in 2021 was 110, resulting in 165 fatalities, including 97 civilians, 62 SF personnel and six terrorists.

Among the principal reasons for the spike of violence in Pakistan in 2022 were the re-grouping of the TTP in August, 2020, and the capture of the Afghanistan Government by the Taliban in August 2021. The Taliban’s seizure of power in Kabul strengthened the TTP, giving them the courage and wherewithal to return to tribal areas of Pakistan, which they had fled during Operation Zarb-e-Azb [Sword of the Prophet] in 2014. Despite the fact that the Pakistan-bred and supported Haqqani Network was a dominant power, and was at the helm of the Ministry of Internal Security, in Afghanistan, TTP has made deep inroads into the tribal areas of Pakistan.

Any doubts that TTP and the Afghan Taliban are ideological twins have now been squarely removed. During an interview with on July 26, 2021, TTP ‘chief’ Noor Wali Mehsud asserted that his group had a ‘good relationship’ with the Afghan Taliban and hoped to benefit from the latter’s victories in Afghanistan. He further warned that TTP would continue its “war against Pakistan’s security forces” and declared that the outfit’s goal was to “take control of the border regions and make them independent.” This was the first time that TTP’s leadership called for an independent state to be carved out of Pakistan’s tribal areas.

Instead of taking strong actions against TTP, and despite the fact that the group had stepped up attacks in the Province, the Pakistan Government, sought to negotiate with the outfit with the help of the Taliban. As a result, both sides agreed on a month-long ceasefire between November 9 – December 9, 2021. On December 9, 2021, however, TTP declined to extend the ceasefire with the Government, alleging that the state forces had not only failed to implement the decisions reached between the two sides. The SFs had conducted raids in Dera Ismail Khan, Lakki Marwat, Swat, Bajaur, Swabi and North Waziristan, killing and detaining many TTP fighters. TTP consequently declared, “Under these circumstances, it is not possible to extend the ceasefire.” Mufti Noor Wali Mehsud announced an end to the ceasefire and asked his fighters to resume attacks.

There is, moreover, adequate evidence to indicate that the ceasefire was just a deceitful move by TTP to buy time and to revitalise its cadres. The Pakistani Government fell into the trap and released more than 100 TTP prisoners as a “goodwill gesture,” in response to the TTP’s acceptance of the ceasefire. During the month-long ceasefire, though five SF personnel were killed in three terrorism-related incidents, no TTP terrorist was killed.

After the collapse of the ceasefire, the TTP resumed its attacks against SFs. At a time when the TTP increased its attacks on SFs, the Imran Khan led PTI-Government in Islamabad sought to buy an improbable peace. A 10-day ceasefire agreement, starting May 1,2022, was reached between the Army and the TTP on the account of Eid (May 2, 2022). On May 10, TTP announced that the ceasefire was extended by another five days and stated that new directives would be issued on May 16. Though no announcement was made on May 16, on May 18, TTP announced that the ceasefire had been extended till May 30.

Under the auspices of the Afghan Taliban, talks commenced between committees of the TTP and the Government of Pakistan. However, sporadic violence continued from both sides. Eventually, however, on November 28, 2022, TTP announced an end to the then seven month-long ceasefire, declaring, in a statement released on Umar Media (TTP’s official website), that TTP’s ‘Minister of Defence’ had “ordered” TTP forces throughout Pakistan “to launch attacks anywhere in the country” in response to Pakistani military operations. The outfit claimed that it chose to end the ceasefire after “the Army and intelligence agencies continue to raid and attack” its forces. “And now our revenge attacks will continue in the whole country,” the TTP statement added.

As ‘official’ talks between the TTP and the Government collapsed with the TTPs declaration of an end to the ceasefire, an escalation of violence in KP and other areas of Pakistan was inevitable.

In 2022, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, which was the most affected by the TTP resurgences, recorded the highest fatalities in a year since 2014. KP recorded a total of 527 fatalities (119 civilians, 173 SF personnel and 235 terrorists) in 184 incidents of killing in 2022, as against 300 such fatalities (71 civilians, 108 SF personnel, and 121 terrorists) in 129 such incidents in 2021, registering an increase of 75.66 per cent in overall fatalities. In terms of SF fatalities, the 2022 tally was the highest since 2013, when there were 181 SF fatalities. Terrorist fatalities in 2022 were the highest since 2011, when there were 372 such fatalities. The number of civilians killed in 2022 touched three digits after a gap of five years, with 122 civilians killed in 2016. Other parameters of violence also indicated a worsening security situation in the Province.

The ceasefire and peace-talks between the Government and TTP gave the terrorists space and time to find their feet in KP.  An October 12, 2022, report suggested that the TTP had re-emerged violently in the restive Swat region. Earlier, an August 12, 2022, report noted that TTP militants had established a check-post at Balasoor Top, besides roaming about freely in other areas of the Matta tehsil of Swat. Significantly, the Geo News correspondent in Swat, Mehboob Ali, claimed that at least 200-250 TTP terrorists were present and operating in the area. Other bordering Districts of the Province had also seen increased terrorist activities. After analysing the overall law and order situation in KP, the Police department declared South and North Waziristan, Lakki Marwat and Bannu Districts, terrorist ‘trouble spots’.

On December 27, 2022, Federal Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah disclosed that there were around 7,000 to 10,000 TTP fighters in the region, and they were accompanied by 25,000 members of their families. This statement was later confirmed by former Prime Minister Imran Khan who, on January 10, 2023, revealed that his government had planned to resettle TTP militants in the erstwhile Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), with the help of the Afghan Taliban. Imran Khan stated that the fall of Kabul and the rise of the Afghan Taliban to power provided Pakistan with a ‘golden opportunity’ to deal with the TTP threat. “The Afghan Taliban pressurised the TTP, which had over 5,000 fighters among its 40,000-strong group, to go back to Pakistan and we took a number of steps to deal with it,” he added.

On February 1, 2023, immediately after the Peshawar Police Lines Mosque suicide attack of January 30, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif accused, the Imran Khan led PTI Government for bringing about the resurgence of terrorism in the country. Targeting Imran Khan, he questioned, “Who regarded the terrorist as ‘jihadi’ and let them return?” In his remarks at a meeting of the Federal Cabinet, the Prime Minister argued that PTI had been ruling the KP for the past 10 years and was responsible for the safety of the lives of the innocent people of the province, who were suffering under the new spate of terrorist incidents.

After KP, the most affected province in Pakistan was Balochistan, in terms of terrorism related fatalities. Balochistan recorded a total of 406 fatalities (88 civilians, 202 SF personnel and 116 terrorists) in 160 incidents of killing in 2022, as against 308 such fatalities (111 civilians, 107 SF personnel, and 90 terrorists) in 111 such incidents in 2021, registering an increase of 31.82 per cent in overall fatalities. In terms of SF fatalities, the 2022 tally is the highest since the SATP database started documenting fatalities in Pakistan.

The escalating attacks on SFs in Balochistan are substantially a consequence of the continuing frustration among Baloch nationalist groups over the systematic extermination of ethnic Baloch through enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings by Pakistan security agencies, in addition to the persistent neglect of the basic needs of the population. The annual report released on January 12, 2023, by Paank, the human rights organization of the Baloch National Movement (BNM), claimed that Pakistani forces in Balochistan forcibly disappeared 629 persons, extra-judicially killed 195, and tortured 187 people in 2022. 187 forcibly disappeared people were released from the torture cells of the Pakistani Army. Under the Universal Periodic Review process at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva on January 30, 2023, member states called on Pakistan to stop enforced disappearances and other human rights abuses and demanded the protection of people.

Though the over-all security situation in Sindh remains relatively calm, echoes of the Baloch insurgency reverberated in Karachi, the provincial capital of Sindh and commercial capital of the country, when Baloch Liberation Army (BLA) female Fidayeen (suicide cadre) Shaari Baloch aka Bramsh, from the Majeed Brigade (BLA’s suicide bomber squad), blew herself up near a van transporting Chinese nationals from a Karachi University (KU) hostel to the Confucius Institute, on April 26, 2022. Five persons, including three Chinese nationals, their Pakistani driver and a security guard, were killed.

Apart from this attack, terrorism-related incidents were at an all-time low in Sindh, with just 21 fatalities in 12 incidents recorded in 2022. Fatalities in 2021 totalled 28 in 13 incidents. The highest terrorism-related fatalities in the province were reported in 2013, when there were 1,656 such deaths.

However, street crime remained a major headache for the security establishment in Karachi, with as any as 85,000 incidents of armed street robberies recorded in the city in 2022. This was disclosed by Sindh Chief Minister, Syed Murad Ali Shah, on January 5, 2023, while chairing the meeting of the Apex Committee during a mention of the crime data compiled by the Citizens Police Liaison Committee (CPLC). Over 100 persons lost their lives in these incidents, while more than 400 citizens suffered injuries. In 2021, Karachi recorded over 73,000 armed street robberies, resulting in the killing of 69 citizens and injuries to another 418.

The Punjab Province recorded the lowest number of terrorism-related fatalities in 2022. According to partial data compiled by the SATP database, Punjab recorded just 11 terrorism-linked fatalities in 2022, including 10 civilians and one terrorist, as against 20 fatalities, including nine civilians, six terrorists and five Security Force (SF) personnel in 2021. However, the threat of terrorism in the province is far from over, with the year 2023 starting on a violent note, as one TTP terrorist shot dead two Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) officers posted in the Punjab Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) at a roadside restaurant on the National Highway, near Pirowal in Khanewal city (Khanewal District), on January 3. TTP ‘spokesman’ Mohammad Khorasani, in a statement to the media, stated, “Yesterday, a secret squad of TTP killed ISI Deputy Director Multan, Naveed Sadiq, along with his colleague Inspector Nasir Butt, at Bismillah Highway in Khanewal district of Punjab”.

While mainstream Islamist extremist groups took a back seat, blasphemy allegations continued to occur in the Punjab, as radicalisation remained rampant. While two incidents of blasphemy were reported in 2021, resulting in the death of one of the accused, 2022 recorded three blasphemy related incidents, with three of the accused done to death. Religious minorities in Punjab have long been under constant threat of abuse, abduction, rape and harassment by Islamist extremists. The abduction of minority girls for rape and forced conversion continues unabated in the province. According to a report titled “Conversion without Consent” released by Voice for Justice and Jubilee Campaign on December 10, 2022, as many as 100 cases of abduction, forced conversion, forced and child marriage of girls and women belonging to the Christian community, have been recorded between January 2019 and October 2022 in Pakistan.

While terrorism has declined sharply in Punjab and Sindh, insurgent and terrorist violence has escalated in the border provinces of KP and Balochistan. The Pakistan state and security establishment have been busy with the blame game over the deteriorating security situation, even as the likelihood of terrorism once again spilling over into the rest of Pakistan increases dramatically.

Revival of Terrorism – View from Pakistan

4 mins read

Some people might be misguided by the thought that the menace of terrorism in Pakistan was successfully crushed to the roots a few years back and after the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan things have become quite normal but actually the situation is not that way.  Terrorists and terrorism both are still alive; it seems they had hibernated themselves for a very short period of time. Once again, they are out of their short sleep and ready to ‘do more’. The recent bomb attack on a mosque in Peshawar on 30th January seemsthe beginning of a fresh wave of terrorist activities in Pakistan. The terrorists have chosen a time when Pakistan is passing through the toughest period of its history with a lot of political and economic instability. Different experts on security affairs were already apprehendingoccurrence of such incidents. It is also being feared thatmore episodes of the same type could take place in near future. Certainly the law-enforcement agencies will have to be more active and more vigilant against the peace-destroyers.

Even the last year had not been very peaceful regarding terrorist activities in Pakistan. According to a think-tank based in Islamabad The Pak Institute for Peace Studies, Pakistan had to face 254 militant attacks in the year 2022. More than 400 Pakistanis lost their lives in these attacks. The Arab News said referring to the report prepared by the Pak Institute for Peace Studies that ‘The toll is significantly higher than last year 2021, when 335 people were killed by militants in 207 incidents, and in 2020, when 146 attacks killed 220.’ The most affected area had been Baluchistan where foreign-patronized terrorists targeted security forces and particularly the Chinese nationals working on China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project which is a multibillion-dollar project having a lot of possibility of strengthening Pakistan’s economy. Attacks on the Chinese nationals certainly effected the work on CPEC project as hovering security threats make things very difficult for the foreigners working on different development projects. It seems that the sole target of all terrorist activities was nothing but to create hurdles in the way to completion of the CPEC.

Now the beginning of 2023 does not seem very pleasant and hopeful with reference to the terrorist’s activities in Pakistan specifically in Baluchistan and KPK province. On 18th of January, according to the Voice of America, a militant attack from across the Iranian side of the border had killed four Pakistani soldiers.The attack took place in the remote Panjgur district in southwestern Baluchistan province. Sources say that the terrorists used Iranian soil to target a convoy of security forces patrolling along the border. The government of Pakistan, just after the incident, asked the Iranian side to hunt down the terrorists on their side. Whatever happened there at the Pak-Iran border was certainly very much unexpected and disappointing even for the Iranian government and the Iranian embassy in Islamabad strongly condemned the terrorist attack on Pakistani troops but this act of condemnation is not the solution to the problem. Without looking into the matter in detail, such incidents might reoccur in near and far-future.Panjgur district of Pakistan’s southwestern Baluchistan province is an area which borders Iran and Afghanistan. The area surrounding Panjgur had always been terrorists’ hot favourite. In 2019, both PakistanandIran had expressed their desire toform a joint quick reaction force to counter and combat militant activitiesalong the border. Unfortunately that desire has yet not been materialized. Though no terrorist group has yet claimed the responsibility of blood-shed in Panjgur. On December 19th 2022, in another incident of the same type four members of Iran’s security forces were killed in a firefight near the Pakistan border. The killed ones were members of The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. These four were killedafter a fight with an unnamed terrorist group, said the Aljazeerareferring to a statement released by the Iranian state media.The incident reportedly took place in Saravan, in the southeastern province of Sistan and Baluchistan, near the Pakistani border. The attackers allegedly fled to Pakistan when IRGC ground forces repelled the assault.

The situation in Afghanistan is also deteriorating with reference to the terrorist activities. Last year on 23rd September several people were killed and dozens more wounded when a car bomb went off at a mosque in Afghanistan’s capital, Kabul. The worshippers streaming out of the mosque afterthe ‘afternoon’ prayers were targeted. According to the Aljazeera,‘gunshots rang out several minutes after the explosion in Wazir Akbar Khan area which is the location of many foreign embassies and NATO. More than 15 people were killed and 41 wounded in that incident. Earlier on 18thAugust 2022, a huge explosion ripped through the crowded mosque during evening prayers, injuring 33 people and killing another 21. Prior to that in April 2022, two boys’ schools were targeted in the western Kabul. The targeted schools were Abdul Rahim Shahid high school and the nearby Mumtaz Education Centre, both located in the Dasht-e-Barchi area. More than ten students were killed and around 30 seriously wounded.

In short, Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan, all are facing the worst situation regarding terrorist activities. In present scenario, any type of blame-game would simply add to the gravity of situation. Be it Afghanistan or Iran or Pakistan; terrorism is in the benefit of no one. We all will have to join our efforts with all possible devotion and dedication to curb this menace. The government of Afghanistan will have to play the most active role in resolving the situation as a consistent peaceful atmosphere is the most-required and most-needed ‘element’ for the stability and firmness of that war-torn country.The point to rememberis that the flames of terrorism never remain limited to some particular area or some specific region; they are like a pandemic which goes on and moves on from one place to other. We must never forget the Twin-Towers tragedy which was the most horrible episode in the long series of terrorist activities. All self-proclaimed ‘Super Powers’ including the US, China and others must step forward and try to ‘Do More’ against the revival of terrorist’s era particularly in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran.

Future of People’s Resistance in Kashmir

3 mins read


Kashmir is a region in northern India that has long been at the focus of a territorial dispute between India and Pakistan. Since 1947, when India achieved independence from Britain and was divided into two countries, India and Pakistan, the region has been under Indian authority. Since then, the Kashmiris have fought for their rights, especially the right to self-determination and independence from Indian rule.

The Kashmir conflict has its origins in the region’s historical and political environment. Kashmir was divided between India and Pakistan as a result of India’s split in 1947. This partition, however, was not peaceful, and the two countries have been at conflict for regional authority ever since. The conflict has resulted in three wars and skirmishes, the most recent being the ongoing conflict over the Indian government’s revocation of Article 35A and 370 in Indian-occupied Kashmir, which has been marked by human rights violations, state-sponsored violence, and the suppression of civil liberties.

Kashmir’s quest for self-determination and freedom has lasted decades. Kashmiris have been in the vanguard of this battle, advocating for their rights and opposing Indian authority via peaceful protests and acts of resistance. Despite the difficulties they have experienced, the Kashmiri people have stayed persistent in their quest of independence and justice.

The Kashmiri people’s resistance to Indian domination demonstrates their tenacity, power, and resolve. Despite the obstacles, they continue to struggle for their rights, demonstrating that they are unwilling to give up their liberties or their right to self-determination. They have demonstrated via their resistance that they are the guardians of their land and the protectors of their rights.

The Kashmiri People’s Resistance:

Kashmiris have been fighting Indian authority in a variety of ways, including peaceful marches, civil disobedience, and armed resistance. Peaceful protests have been a regular form of resistance, with Kashmiris going to the streets to oppose the Indian government’s policies and breaches of human rights in the area. Armed resistance was also part of the resistance movement, with certain organisations urging the use of force to fight Indian authority.

Civil society and human rights groups have played an important part in the Kashmir resistance movement. These groups have been critical in recording human rights violations, campaigning for Kashmiri people’s rights, and offering support and help to individuals impacted by the war.

In their battle against Indian domination, the Kashmiri people have faced several hurdles. To crush the resistance movement, the Indian government has utilised military force, limited civil freedoms, and enforced mobility restrictions. Furthermore, the Kashmiri people have endured economic and social difficulties, such as unemployment, poverty, and a lack of access to fundamental amenities including as healthcare and education. Despite these obstacles, the Kashmiri people have maintained their resistance to Indian rule, exhibiting their enduring spirit and desire to protect their land and rights.

The Impact of Indian Occupation on Kashmir:

Indian soldiers have perpetrated several human rights abuses and crimes in Kashmir throughout their rule. Extrajudicial deaths, forced disappearances, arbitrary arrests and incarceration, and widespread use of torture have all occurred. Furthermore, the Indian government has enforced curfews and mobility restrictions, restricting the Kashmiri people’s capacity to freely express themselves and engage in political activities.

The Indian occupation of Kashmir has had a significant influence on Kashmiri socioeconomic and cultural life. The battle has resulted in massive devastation and displacement, as well as pervasive poverty and unemployment. The actions of the Indian government have also led in a reduction in the region’s level of living, with restricted access to essential amenities like as healthcare and education. In addition, the Indian government has enforced cultural restrictions, restricting the Kashmiri people’s capacity to retain and express their cultural history and identity.

The international community must play a critical role in resolving the situation in Kashmir. The international community must hold the Indian government accountable for its actions and campaign for the Kashmiri people’s rights and freedoms. Furthermore, the international community can have a role in resolving the issue and supporting attempts to find a peaceful conclusion. Nonetheless, despite demands from the Kashmiri people and human rights organisations, the international community has mostly failed to take effective action to improve the situation in Kashmir.


The Kashmiri people’s unwavering passion and desire to protect their land and rights is exemplified by their resistance against Indian domination. Despite multiple difficulties and breaches of their human rights, they have maintained a peaceful and nonviolent resistance to claim their right to self-determination. This resistance is vital not only for the people of Kashmir, but also for the broader context of the fight for freedom and justice.

The international community must demonstrate sympathy and support for the Kashmiri people in their struggle against Indian occupation. This may take numerous forms, from increasing awareness about the situation in Kashmir to lobbying for Kashmiri people’s rights on a worldwide scale. The Kashmiri people can only expect to accomplish their aim of independence and self-determination via collective action.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa: Shroud of Terror

5 mins read

On January 19, 2023, three Police constables were killed in a suicide attack at the Takhta Beg Police checkpost in Jamrud tehsil (revenue unit) of Khyber District in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP). Police said terrorists armed with hand grenades, entered the premises and opened fire using a sub-machine gun. After the firing, a suicide bomber blew himself up. The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility for the attack.

On January 18, 2023, a teenager, Raheedullah, was found beheaded in a remote area of Bargai village in Lakki Marwat District. The Ittehadul Mujahideen-i-Khurasan left a dagger and a hand written chit in Pashto near the body, with the message that Raheedullah was found guilty of spying for the Army and the Counter Terrorism Department (CTD).

On January 14, 2023, three Policemen, including Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), Badaber Sardar Hussain and his two Police guards, Irshad and Jehanzeb, were killed in a terrorist attack on the Sarband Police Station in Peshawar, the provincial capital of KP. KP Inspector General of Police (IGP) Moazzam Jah Ansari said that sniper rifles were used by the terrorists in the incident, for the first time in Peshawar. TTP claimed responsibility for the attack. The CTD killed the two terrorists who were involved in the attack, Gul Hayyee and Hazrat Umar, residents of the Bara area of Khyber District and Mohmand Hal Yeka Tut in Peshawar, while two to three other terrorists managed to escape.

According to partial data compiled by the South Asia Terrorism Portal (SATP), KP has recorded 33 terrorism-related fatalities, including 23 terrorists, eight Security Force (SF) personnel and two civilians, so far, in the current year (data till January 22, 2023). During the corresponding period of 2022, the province had recorded 19 such fatalities including 11 terrorists, five SF personnel and three civilians.

KP recorded a total of 527 fatalities (119 civilians, 173 SF personnel and 235 terrorists) in 184 incidents of killing in 2022, as against 300 such fatalities (71 civilians, 108 SF personnel, and 121 terrorists) in 129 such incidents in 2021, registering an increase of 75.66 per cent in overall fatalities. Overall fatalities, on year-on-year basis, have been on a continuous rise since 2020, when fatalities stood at 216 (61 civilians, 57 SF personnel, and 98 terrorists) in comparison to 130 (30 civilians, 69 SF personnel, and 31 terrorists) in 2019.

Significantly, overall fatalities in 2022 are the highest in a year since 2014, when there were 697 fatalities. In terms of SF fatalities, the 2022 tally is the highest since 2013, when there were 181 fatalities. Terrorist fatalities in 2022 were the highest since 2011, when there were 372 such fatalities. The number of civilians killed in a year touched three digits after a gap of five years, with 122 civilians killed in 2016.

Other parameters of violence also indicated a worsening security situation in the province. Total terrorism-linked incidents jumped sharply from 168 in 2021 to 225 in 2022, the highest since 2015, when there were 278 incidents. The number of major incidents (each involving three or more killings) increased from 41 in 2021 to 56 in 2022, the highest since 2013, when there were 72 such incidents. The resultant fatalities in such attacks also increased from 186 in 2021 to 337 in 2022. Similarly, KP accounted for an increased number of explosions, from 32 in 2021 to 45 in 2022 (the highest since 2015, when there were 50 such incidents), and the resulting fatalities spiked from 52 to 129. The province recorded eight suicide attacks in 2022 (the highest since 2017, when there were also eight such attacks) as against two in 2021. In the worst attack, on March 4, at least 63 worshippers lost their lives and 194 others were injured when a suicide attacker detonated himself inside a Shia Mosque in the Koocha Risaldar area of Peshawar.

Of 38 Districts in KP, 16 recorded terrorism-related violence, according to the SATP database. The most violent District in 2022 was, again, North Waziristan District, which accounted for 177 deaths, followed by Peshawar (87 fatalities), Bannu (60 fatalities) and Dera Ismail Khan (43 fatalities). In 2021 as well, North Waziristan recorded the maximum of 106 killings, followed by South Waziristan (51 fatalities), Peshawar (25 fatalities) and Bajaur (22 fatalities). Of 38 Districts, 21 Districts registered terrorism-related incidents in 2021. 2020 saw terrorism-related incidents in 19 Districts, of which North Waziristan had the highest number of fatalities (110), followed by Peshawar (27) and South Waziristan (21).

In 2019, violence in KP had fallen to its second lowest level, in terms of fatalities, as terrorists had started to escape to Afghanistan due to continuous SF operations in the tribal areas of Pakistan. With the Taliban starting to strengthen their position in Afghanistan in 2020, the TTP terrorists who had escaped to Afghanistan started receiving increasing support inside Afghanistan, which helped them in their efforts to revive their campaigns in Pakistan. The process gained momentum with the Taliban’s return to power in Afghanistan on August 15, 2021.

Though an attempt to start a direct dialogue between the TTP and the Pakistan Government was initiated soon after the Taliban seized Kabul, it finally succeeded in May 2022. After a fractious six months, it came to an end in November 2022. During this entire period, there was not a single phase of peace on the ground.

On the contrary, an October 12, 2022, report suggested that the TTP had re-emerged violently in the restive areas of Swat, as militants detained Police personnel and an Army officer after enforcement officials launched an operation to capture TTP militants. Earlier, an August 12, 2022, report noted that TTP militants had established a check-post at Balasoor Top, besides roaming about freely in other areas of the Matta tehsil of Swat. The areas included Bar Shor, Koz Shor, Namal, Gat Peuchar and among others. Significantly, the Geo News correspondent in Swat, Mehboob Ali, claimed that at least 200-250 TTP terrorists were present and operating in the area.

On December 23, 2022, after analysing the overall law and order situation in KP, the Police department declared South and North Waziristan, Lakki Marwat and Bannu Districts, terrorist ‘trouble spots’. Additional Inspector General of Police (ADGP), Operations, Mohammad Ali Babakhel declared, “Southern districts, including North and South Waziristan [from among the newly-merged tribal districts] as well as Lakki Marwat and Bannu districts [from settled areas], are trouble spots.”

Indeed, on December 27, 2022, Federal Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah disclosed that there were around 7,000 to 10,000 TTP fighters in the region, and they were accompanied by 25,000 members of their families. He added that some of the terrorists, who had previously laid down arms, had secretly resumed activities, and alleged, “The biggest reason for this is the failure of [the] Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government and Counter Terrorism Department… It is their job to stop it.”

Meanwhile, a report presented to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif during the national security review meeting in December 2022, warned that, because of an acute shortage of staff and resources, the KP CTD would not be able to prevent or stop terrorist attacks in the province, and lacked the capacity to fight terrorism.

Significantly, in a daring incident on December 18, 2022, a detained terrorist overpowered a constable at the CTD Complex in Bannu Cantonment (Bannu District) and, after snatching the constable’s weapon, freed 34 other detained terrorists. As soon as they came out of the lockup, the terrorists took possession of more weapons and started firing. One CTD constable was killed, while another was injured, and died later. Meanwhile, SFs cordoned off the area and launched an operation. Immediately after the seizure of the complex by the terrorists on December 18, two terrorists were killed, three were arrested, and two security forces personnel were injured in the exchange of fire. Efforts to induce the terrorists to surrender unconditionally continued for the next two days. On December 20, the SFs took initiated an operation against the terrorists who refused to surrender. During the resulting and fierce exchange of fire between terrorists and security forces, 25 terrorists were killed. Three terrorists were arrested and the remaining seven surrendered. Three SF personnel were killed in the operation, while another 10, including two officers, were injured. The TTP claimed responsibility for the incident.

As ‘official’ talks between the TTP and the Government collapsed with the TTPs declaration of an end to the ceasefire on November 28, 2022, an escalation of violence within KP, and the possibilities of its fanning out into other areas of Pakistan, have increased dramatically. The risk of Pakistan’s tribal areas once again becoming the “most dangerous place on earth” is real.