2009: Year of Terrorism
Pakistan is at war, and this time the war is not at its borders with an enemy country. This war is with its own people and within its own territory. Some call it America’s war whereas the government and the army call it ‘Pakistan’s own war’.
This war has plagued Pakistan's provinces of North West Frontier Province (NWFP), Balochistan, and Punjab with violence between militants and government security forces as well as terrorist activities against innocent civilians. Though, the nature of these violent incidents and terrorist attacks seem similar all over the country, the causes of the conflicts vary in different regions.
In NWFP, the worst hit province in terms of terrorism, Operation Rah-e-Rast against pro-Taliban groups displaced hundreds of thousands of people in April and May 2009. The operation wrapped up on July 7, 2009 with 1,600 extremists killed and 158 soldiers martyred. During the operation, around 300,000 people of Swat took refuge in camps or with relatives.
Not only displacement, residents of the province also bear the brunt of the terrorist attacks in the country. Around 87 such incidents took place in the province, including suicide attacks, hand grenade attacks, rocket and mortar attacks and blasts with remote control devices. At least 824 people, including 228 security officials of different organizations and grades, were killed in attacks during the year.
Attack on shrine of a 17th century Sufi poet - Rehman Baba - in the Akhund Baba graveyard of Peshawar to discourage ‘shrine culture’ shocked the nation. A letter delivered to the management of the mausoleum three days before the attack had warned against its promotion of ‘shrine culture’.
In Balochistan, Pakistan's largest and poorest province, tribal militants are engaged in a long-running, low-level insurgency to gain greater control of the region's natural resources and political power. Analysts say Afghan Taliban groups are also using...
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