LAHORE – Before the US invasion of Afghanistan, many people were unfamiliar with the term of suicide bombing in this densely populated country but now everybody knows about the phenomenon.
Though the end of 2012 is drawing near, the country is sill bleeding while fighting the menace of terrorism with more commitment and less resources. The nation has seen another bloody year – 2012– as 39 suicide bombers struck the country, leaving 365 persons dead and 607 others injured in the attacks that targeted mostly civilians and security personnel.
The stronger the military action in Swat and South Waziristan, the quicker the suicide bombing plummeted across Pakistan, according to many security experts. The Khyber-PK province remains the worst terror-hit province while the Punjab was the safest with only one suicide attack reported this year.
According to the data collected from various sources, in 2012 the militants executed 39 suicide attacks across the country in which 365 persons were killed while 607 wounded in the terrible bombings. At least 44 suicidal attacks left 628 people dead and 1,183 wounded in 2011. The year 2010 was the deadliest period in the country’s history as 1,167 persons were killed and 2,199 wounded in 58 suicidal attacks all over the country. In 2009, the terrible bombing trend left 949 people dead and 2,356 wounded as 90 suicide bombing incidents rocked the country amid fighting against the militants in the northwest. Similarly, 61 suicide bombers blew themselves up in 2008, killed 893 persons, and wounded 1,846 others throughout the country.
During the last five years, the country’s security forces successfully flushed out the militants by destroying their strongholds and hideouts, which is evident from the fact that in 2009 the country had witnessed 90 suicide bombings which dropped to 39 in 2012.
Security experts say the country is experiencing the worst downslide of its history.
“In this country, terrorism can be categorised as sectarian, political and that perpetrated by criminal elements. Each group is working to pursue its own interests. Taliban resort to bomb blasts in Pakistan as a retaliation to the killings of their leaders in the fight against security forces, to avenge drone attacks and to vent out anger against the Nato forces,” a retired military officer said.
Since the army operation in North Waziristan is becoming a source of contention between the US and Pakistan, the Pak Army is reluctant to open a new front against Haqqani in North Waziristan because of more pressing compulsions in the country.
According to a senior military official, despite noticeable evidences regarding fugitive Fazlullah and his associates hiding in eastern Afghanistan, the US and ISAF have not made any dedicated effort to capture or kill him.
The mere aim behind giving a cold shoulder to Pakistan’s demand regarding Fazlullah is to retain the misperception that Pakistan is not doing enough to prevent terrorists from using Pakistani soil against the US and coalition forces.
“Existence of havens for Pakistani militants inside Afghanistan tends to magnify already developed distrust between the US and Pakistan. Therefore, reducing the threat to Pakistan’s stability must be listed among the priorities of the US /ISAF forces as a stable Pakistan is in the interest of the US,” the official insisted.
A multifaceted approach needs to be adopted to check terrorism and resultant negative down slide in the country. For this, the nation needs to be educated that fight against terrorism is “our war,” and we have to fight and win it,” said a police officer who served the Counter-Terrorism Department for years.
As a first step, he suggested, the government needs to utilise all its resources to crackdown on terrorists to blunt their ongoing offensive. An aggressive approach needs to be taken rather than protecting sensitive places, he recommends.
Following are some major terror attacks carried out by suicide bombers this year in the country:
December 22: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Senior Minister Bashir Ahmed Bilour and at least eight other persons were killed and 17 injured in a suicide bomb explosion in the Qissa Khawani Bazaar area of Peshawar.
November 21: At least 20 mourners were killed and more than 30 wounded in a suicide blast at a mourning procession taken out from Imambargah Qasar-e-Shabbir in Rawalpindi.
November 8: At least three Rangers were killed and 14 others injured in a suicide attack outside the Sachal Rangers Headquarters in Karachi.
November 7: Six persons, including SP (Investigation) Hilal Haider and four other police officials, were killed in a suicide attack in Qissa Khawani Bazaar of Peshawar.
October 13: A car-bomb suicide attack killed 18 civilians and injured 40 in Darra Adam Khel Town in the Khyber PK province.
September 10: At least 15 persons killed and 40 injured in a suicide attack in a crowded market in Parachinar Town, the headquarters of Kurram Agency in FATA.
September 3: At least four persons, including two Americans, were reportedly killed and 19 others injured when a suicide bomber detonated his explosives-laden vehicle in the University Town area of Peshawar.
May 4: A suicide attack targeting security forces killed at least 29 persons, including four policemen, and injured over 73 others at Khar Bazaar in Khar Town of Bajaur Agency.
March 2: More than 25 people were killed and another 18 injured in a suicide attack targeting a mosque after Friday prayers in Tirah Valley in FATA.
February 17: At least 40 Shias were reportedly killed while 24 others injured after a suicide bomber detonated his explosives just near the targeted mosque in the Kurmi Bazaar of Parachinar.