Terrorism decreases in Pakistan

Last year 1,760 people were killed in terrorist attacks in Pakistan, the fourth highest number in the world, behind only Iraq, Afghanistan and Nigeria.

Despite this, the South Asian nation also saw the world’s largest decrease in deaths. In 2013, 2,345 people were killed by terrorist attacks in Pakistan, in 2014 this number decreased by 25 per cent to 1,760 people, a difference of nearly 600 lives.

The 2014 decrease in deaths is in part due to the further fracturing of the Tehrik-i-Taliban (the Pakistani Taliban) following the death of leader Hakimullah Mehsud in November 2013.

Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, the deadliest terrorist group in the country, was responsible for 31 per cent of all deaths and 60 per cent of all claimed attacks in 2014, killing 543 people. This was less than 2013, when the group was responsible for 618 deaths.

The group claimed responsibility for the December 2014 attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar, which killed 157 staff and students, and injured 131. This was one of the twenty most fatal terrorist attacks in the world in 2014.Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, a jihadi group based in Pakistan, also saw a substantial decline in activity. In 2013 the group killed 346 people; this was reduced to 45 people in 2014. In addition, the leader of the group, Malik Ishaq, was killed by Pakistani police forces in July 2015.

Last year, 35 different terrorist groups were recorded to be operating within the country. Of these, just seven account for the majority of claimed attacks (although nearly half of all attacks in the country are not claimed by any group).

Bombings and explosions continue to be the most common type of attack. However, the use of firearms and armed assault attacks has increased.

Private citizens are the main target, and account for 29 per cent of fatalities. Educational institutions also continue to be targeted. In 2014 there were 103 attacks on schools which caused 201 deaths and 203 injuries.  The Pakistani Taliban, like the Taliban in Afghanistan, is opposed to western education and to the education of girls and has targeted schools and advocates of equal education.

In 2014, 535 cities or regional centres had at least one terrorist incident, with at least one death in each of 253 cities. Karachi, Pakistan’s largest city, recorded the most deaths, with 374 lives lost to terrorism last year. In Peshawar 304 people were killed in attacks. Both Karachi and Peshawar were among the top 10 cities with the highest fatality rate from terrorism in 2014.

Globally, terrorist activity is highly concentrated: 57 per cent of all attacks and 78 per cent of all deaths in 2014 occurred in only five countries; Iraq, Nigeria, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Syria.

Iraq recorded 25 per cent of all terrorist incidents, followed by Pakistan with 14 per cent and Afghanistan with 12 per cent. Nigeria experienced only five per cent of the incidents but had the second highest number of deaths at 23 per cent.

Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan have all been ranked in the ten countries with the highest number of deaths from terrorism for every year in the last ten years. This reflects that terrorism has remained a significant issue in these three countries ever since 2003.

Pakistan was the only country in the ten most impacted countries that saw a decline in deaths and accordingly it dropped from third to fourth.

In numbers: the impact of terrorism in Pakistan 

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2015 Global Terrorism Index

Terrorism continues to rise, with over 32,000 people killed in terrorist attacks in 2014, the highest number recorded. Despite being highly concentrated in five countries, terrorism is spreading, with more countries recording attacks and deaths.

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