Terrorism in Pakistan

Terrorism in Pakistan

Ask a question about 'Terrorism in Pakistan'
Start a new discussion about 'Terrorism in Pakistan'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
Terrorism in Pakistan has become a major and highly destructive phenomenon in recent years. The annual death toll from terrorist attacks has risen from 164 in 2003 to 3318 in 2009, with a total of 35,000 Pakistanis killed as of 2010. According to the government of Pakistan, the direct and indirect economic costs of terrorism from 2000-2010 total $68 billion. President
President of Pakistan
The President of Pakistan is the head of state, as well as figurehead, of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Recently passed an XVIII Amendment , Pakistan has a parliamentary democratic system of government. According to the Constitution, the President is chosen by the Electoral College to serve a...

 Asif Ali Zardari
Asif Ali Zardari
Asif Ali Zardari is the 11th and current President of Pakistan and the Co-Chairman of the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party . He is also the widower of Benazir Bhutto, who served two nonconsecutive terms as Prime Minister....

, along with former President ex-Pakistan Army
Pakistan Army
The Pakistan Army is the branch of the Pakistani Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. The Pakistan Army came into existence after the Partition of India and the resulting independence of Pakistan in 1947. It is currently headed by General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani. The Pakistan...

 head Pervez Musharraf
Pervez Musharraf
Pervez Musharraf , is a retired four-star general who served as the 13th Chief of Army Staff and tenth President of Pakistan as well as tenth Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee. Musharraf headed and led an administrative military government from October 1999 till August 2007. He ruled...

, have admitted that terrorist outfits were "deliberately created and nurtured" by past governments "as a policy to achieve some short-term tactical objectives". The trend began with Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq
Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq
General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq , was the 4th Chief Martial Law Administrator and the sixth President of Pakistan from July 1977 to his death in August 1988...

's controversial "Islamization
Zia-ul-Haq's Islamization
On December 2, 1978, General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq delivered a nationwide address on the occasion of the first day of the Hijra calendar. He did this in order to usher in an Islamic system to Pakistan...

" policies of the 1980s, under which conflicts were started against non-muslim countries. Zia's tenure as president saw Pakistan's involvement in the Soviet-Afghan War, which led to a greater influx of ideologically driven Afghan Arabs
Afghan Arabs
Afghan Arabs were Arab and other Muslim Islamist mujahideen who came to Afghanistan during and following the Soviet-Afghan War to help fellow Muslims fight Soviets and pro-Soviet Afghans....

 to the tribal areas
The FATA or FC-ATA is a type of computer hard disk drive. FATA is simply the low cost ATA or SATA disk drive equipped with a small external converter, that changes the interface to Fibre Channel...

 and increased availability of guns such as the AK-47
The AK-47 is a selective-fire, gas-operated 7.62×39mm assault rifle, first developed in the Soviet Union by Mikhail Kalashnikov. It is officially known as Avtomat Kalashnikova . It is also known as a Kalashnikov, an "AK", or in Russian slang, Kalash.Design work on the AK-47 began in the last year...

 and drugs from the Golden Crescent
Golden Crescent
The Golden Crescent is the name given to one of Asia's two principal areas of illicit opium production, located at the crossroads of Central, South, and Western Asia...

. The state and its Inter-Services Intelligence
Inter-Services Intelligence
The Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence , is Pakistan's premier intelligence agency, responsible for providing critical national security intelligence assessment to the Government of Pakistan...

, in alliance with the CIA
Central Intelligence Agency
The Central Intelligence Agency is a civilian intelligence agency of the United States government. It is an executive agency and reports directly to the Director of National Intelligence, responsible for providing national security intelligence assessment to senior United States policymakers...

, encouraged the "mujahideen
Mujahideen are Muslims who struggle in the path of God. The word is from the same Arabic triliteral as jihad .Mujahideen is also transliterated from Arabic as mujahedin, mujahedeen, mudžahedin, mudžahidin, mujahidīn, mujaheddīn and more.-Origin of the concept:The beginnings of Jihad are traced...

" to fight a proxy war
Proxy war
A proxy war or proxy warfare is a war that results when opposing powers use third parties as substitutes for fighting each other directly. While powers have sometimes used governments as proxies, violent non-state actors, mercenaries, or other third parties are more often employed...

 against the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

. Most of the mujahideen were never disarmed after the war and some of these groups were later activated at the behest of the state in the form of the Lashkar-e-Taiba
Lashkar-e-Taiba – also transliterated as Lashkar-i-Tayyaba, Lashkar-e-Tayyaba, Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, Lashkar-i-Taiba, Lashkar Taiba or LeT – is one of the largest and most active militant Islamist terrorist organizations in South Asia, operating mainly from Pakistan.It was founded by Hafiz Muhammad...

, the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen
Harkat-ul-Mujahideen- al-Islami is a Pakistan-based Islamic militant group operating primarily in Kashmir. In 1997, the United States designated Harakat al-Ansar a foreign terrorist organization for links to Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda, and in response the organization changed its name to...

 and others like the Taliban who were all encouraged to achieve Pakistan's agenda in the Kashmir conflict
Kashmir conflict
The Kashmir conflict is a territorial dispute between India and Pakistan over the Kashmir region, the northwesternmost region of South Asia....

 and Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

 respectively. The same groups are now taking on the state itself, making the biggest threat to it and the citizens of Pakistan through the politically motivated killing of civilians and police officials, by what Pakistan calls misguided holy warriors (mujahideen) and the rest of the world calls terrorists.

From the summer of 2007 until late 2009, more than 1,500 people were killed in suicide and other attacks on civilians for reasons attributed to a number of causes – sectarian violence between Sunni and Shia Muslims; easy availability of guns and explosives; the existence of a "Kalishnikov culture"; an influx of ideologically driven Afghan Arabs based in or near Pakistan
AfPak is a neologism used within US foreign policy circles to designate Afghanistan and Pakistan as a single theater of operations.This policy approach introduced by the Obama administration along with the cooperation of its top commanders and allies regards the nations of Afghanistan and Pakistan...

, who originate from any country with a Muslim population and the subsequent war against the Afghan communists in the 1980s which blew back into Pakistan; the presence of Islamist insurgent groups and forces such as the Taliban and Lashkar-e-Taiba; Pakistan's thousands of fundamentalist madrassas
Madrassas in Pakistan
Madrassas in Pakistan are Islamic seminaries in Pakistan that teach mostly Islamic subjects leading to graduation as a cleric...

(Islamic schools) which are thought by some to provide training for little other than jihad. and secessionists movements – the most significant being the Balochistan
Balochistan (Pakistan)
Balochistan is one of the four provinces or federating units of Pakistan. With an area of 134,051 mi2 or , it is the largest province of Pakistan, constituting approximately 44% of the total land mass of Pakistan. According to the 1998 population census, Balochistan had a population of...

 liberation movement – blamed on regionalism
Regionalism (politics)
Regionalism is a term used in international relations. Regionalism also constitutes one of the three constituents of the international commercial system...

, which is problematic in a country with Pakistan's diverse cultures, languages
Languages of Pakistan
Languages of Pakistan include two official languages: Urdu, which is also Pakistan's national language and lingua franca, and English. Additionally, Pakistan has four major provincial languages: Punjabi, Pashto, Sindhi, Farsi and Balochi, as well as three major regional languages: Saraiki, Hindko...

, traditions
Culture of Pakistan
The society and culture of Pakistan comprises numerous diverse cultures and ethnic groups: the Punjabis, Kashmiris, Sindhis in east, Muhajirs, Makrani in the south; Baloch and Pashtun in the west; and the ancient Dardic, Wakhi and Burusho communities in the north...

 and customs
Etiquette in Pakistan
In Pakistan, Islamic culture is predominant but Pakistan also has cultural etiquette based mainly on South Asian influence, as well as British. Pakistan has a rich and vibrant culture...


List of terrorist incidents in Pakistan



Two of the main causal factors of terrorism in Pakistan are sectarian/religious violence
Sectarian violence
Sectarian violence and/or sectarian strife is violence inspired by sectarianism, that is, between different sects of one particular mode of ideology or religion within a nation/community...

 and the Pakistani state's active nurturing of terrorist proxies for perceived strategic ends. Following imposition of martial law
Martial law
Martial law is the imposition of military rule by military authorities over designated regions on an emergency basis— only temporary—when the civilian government or civilian authorities fail to function effectively , when there are extensive riots and protests, or when the disobedience of the law...

 in 1956, Pakistan's political situation suddenly changed and thereafter saw dictatorship type behaviour at different levels appearing in the civil service, the army (those most culpable) and political forces or Zamindar
A Zamindar or zemindar , was an aristocrat, typically hereditary, who held enormous tracts of land and ruled over and taxed the bhikaaris who lived on batavaslam. Over time, they took princely and royal titles such as Maharaja , Raja , Nawab , and Mirza , Chowdhury , among others...

(landlords created by the British) who claimed power, probably because the British originally did not consider Pakistan an independent state, yet did not want to intervene; this trend continued into the 21st century, when finally, the US persuaded General Pervez Musharraf
Pervez Musharraf
Pervez Musharraf , is a retired four-star general who served as the 13th Chief of Army Staff and tenth President of Pakistan as well as tenth Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee. Musharraf headed and led an administrative military government from October 1999 till August 2007. He ruled...

 to hold elections. Other causes, such as political rivalry and business disputes, also took their toll. It is estimated that more than 4,000 people have died in Pakistan in the past 25 years due to sectarian strife.


In the late 1960s, told the government faced a rebellion in East Pakistan
East Pakistan
East Pakistan was a provincial state of Pakistan established in 14 August 1947. The provincial state existed until its declaration of independence on 26 March 1971 as the independent nation of Bangladesh. Pakistan recognized the new nation on 16 December 1971. East Pakistan was created from Bengal...

 as well as having to deal with its struggle with its western counter-part
West Pakistan
West Pakistan , common name West-Pakistan , in the period between its establishment on 22 November 1955 to disintegration on December 16, 1971. This period, during which, Pakistan was divided, ended when East-Pakistan was disintegrated and succeeded to become which is now what is known as Bangladesh...

 over resources and political power, which led to the Bangladesh Liberation War
Bangladesh Liberation War
The Bangladesh Liberation War was an armed conflict pitting East Pakistan and India against West Pakistan. The war resulted in the secession of East Pakistan, which became the independent nation of Bangladesh....

. This changed the dynamics of the country and led the Pakistani state to "deal harshly with Hindus and Muslims" in East Pakistan, resulting in secession
Secession is the act of withdrawing from an organization, union, or especially a political entity. Threats of secession also can be a strategy for achieving more limited goals.-Secession theory:...

 and the creation of Bangladesh
Bangladesh , officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh is a sovereign state located in South Asia. It is bordered by India on all sides except for a small border with Burma to the far southeast and by the Bay of Bengal to the south...

. Bangladeshi authorities claimed that three hundred thousand people were killed; this was initally misunderstood by the world to mean 'three million' due to the Bangladeshi Spokesman mistaking the english word 'million' to be the interpretation of the Bengali word 'lakh' which means 'hundred thousand', while a further eight hundred thousand to a million fled the country to seek asylum in India.

Aid to the mujahideen

Terrorism in Pakistan since the 1980s began primarily with supporting the Soviet-Afghan War, and the subsequent war against Afghan communists that continued for at least a decade. The conflict brought numerous fighters from all over the world to South Asia
South Asia
South Asia, also known as Southern Asia, is the southern region of the Asian continent, which comprises the sub-Himalayan countries and, for some authorities , also includes the adjoining countries to the west and the east...

 in the name of jihad. These mujahideen fighters carried out insurgent activities inside the country well after the war officially ended.

The sectarian violence presently plaguing the country is also said to originate in the controversial Islamist policies of General Muhammad Zia ul-Haq initiated during his tenure as president from 1977 to 1988. These gave immense power to religious figures in the country, who in turn spread intolerant religious dogma
Dogma is the established belief or doctrine held by a religion, or a particular group or organization. It is authoritative and not to be disputed, doubted, or diverged from, by the practitioners or believers...

 among the masses, against non-muslim countries in general and non-muslims in particular.

Post Afghan War

At the end of the Afghan War, between 1990 and 1996, the Pakistani establishment continued to organize, support and nurture mujahideen groups on the premise that they could be used for proxy warfare in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir
Jammu and Kashmir
Jammu and Kashmir is the northernmost state of India. It is situated mostly in the Himalayan mountains. Jammu and Kashmir shares a border with the states of Himachal Pradesh and Punjab to the south and internationally with the People's Republic of China to the north and east and the...

 and in support of the doctrine of "strategic depth" in Afghanistan through the use of the Taliban.

War on Terrorism in Pakistan

The post-9/11 War on Terrorism
War on Terrorism
The War on Terror is a term commonly applied to an international military campaign led by the United States and the United Kingdom with the support of other North Atlantic Treaty Organisation as well as non-NATO countries...

 in Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

 has had two principal elements: the government's battle with jihad groups banned after the attacks in New York, and the U.S. pursuit of Al-Qaeda, usually (but not always) in co-operation with Pakistani forces.

In 2004, the Pakistani army launched a pursuit of Al-Qaeda members in the mountainous area of Waziristan
Waziristan is a mountainous region near the Northwest of Pakistan, bordering Afghanistan and covering some 11,585 km² . The area is entirely populated by ethnic Pashtuns . The language spoken in the valley is Pashto/Pakhto...

 on the Afghan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

 border, although sceptics question the sincerity of this pursuit. Clashes there erupted into a low-level conflict with Islamic militants and local tribesmen, sparking the Waziristan War. A short-lived truce known as the Waziristan accord
Waziristan accord
The Waziristan Accord was an agreement between the government of Pakistan and tribals, resident in the Waziristan area to mutually cease hostilities in North Waziristan . The agreement was signed on 5 September 2006 in the North Waziristan town of Miranshah...

was brokered in September 2006, which indicated Pakistan's reluctance to fight Islamic militia.

External links