Edited By: Nitya Thirumalai
Last Updated: March 16, 2023, 10:18 IST
Pakistan recorded the second-largest increase in terrorism-related deaths worldwide in 2022, with the toll rising significantly to 643, a 120% rise from the 292 deaths the previous year, a new report said on Tuesday.
The year saw Pakistan overtake Afghanistan as the country with the most terrorist attacks and deaths in South Asia, a position held by the latter since 2017, said the annual Global Terrorism Index (GTI), released by the Australia-based Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP).
The number of fatalities in Pakistan represented the largest year-on-year increase in the last decade, with 55% of all terror-related victims being military personnel. The South Asian nation moved up four places to sixth on the index due to sharp increase in fatalities, according to the GTI.
The Baluchistan Liberation Army (BLA) was responsible for 36% or a third of terror-related deaths in Pakistan, a nine-fold increase from the year prior, making it “the fastest-growing terrorist group in the world”. The GTI noted that the BLA had overtaken the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), also called the Pakistani Taliban, as the deadliest terrorist group in the country.
“As a result, BLA’s lethality rate increased to its highest level, with attacks by the group killing 7.7 people per attack in 2022, compared to 1.5 people per attack in 2021. Of the 233 deaths attributed to BLA in 2022, 95% were of military personnel.”
The BLA claims to be fighting for the independence of Baluchistan province, which borders Afghanistan and Iran, alleging extortion by the Pakistani government of the region’s natural resources and discrimination against its ethnic Baluch population. Islamabad rejects the charges.
Pakistan, the United States and Britain have designated both the BLA and TTP as terrorist organizations.
The GTI noted that terrorism remains primarily concentrated along Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan, with 63% of attacks and 74% of deaths occurring in that area.
Stepped-up terrorist activities by the TTP and the Islamic State terror group’s regional affiliate, Islamic State-Khorasan, have driven the rise in nationwide deaths. The TTP has been waging terrorist attacks against Pakistani security forces to seek an Islamic Sharia-compliant state like the radical Taliban have established in Afghanistan.
The Pakistani Taliban is an offshoot and a close ally of the Afghan Taliban. Its leaders and commanders are based in Afghanistan and allegedly plot cross-border terrorism from there.
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