Pakistan Taliban, affiliates continued to regroup in erstwhile FATA in 2020: Report
Pakistan Institute for Peace Studies (PIPS) in a report said that Pakistani Taliban and its affiliates continued to regroup in erstwhile FATA in 2020 adding that the National Action Plan by the government has not been “fully successful” in countering terrorism.
The report stated that different militant, nationalist, insurgent and violent sectarian groups perpetrated 146 attacks across Pakistan, including three suicide blasts, which is a decline of over 36 percent from the previous year.
“The Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), which is a banned organisation in Pakistan, and its affiliates remained the major actors of instability in Pakistan in 2020 which perpetrated a combined total of 67 terrorist attacks or about 46 per cent of the total reported attacks in 2020, mainly in erstwhile FATA,” the report said.
FATA or the Federally Administered Tribal Areas was a semi-autonomous tribal region in northwestern Pakistan, which was merged with neighbouring province Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in 2018.
“The TTP also successfully brought its few breakaway factions and some other militant groups and commanders into its fold. Another religiously-inspired militant group, the Islamic State, perpetrated two major attacks in 2020 in Quetta and Peshawar. There is also little evidence to suggest that the National Action Plan has been successful in countering these and the related challenges,” the report said.
The report comes ahead of meetings of Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in January and February, which will consider Pakistan ‘greylist’ status, meant for countries “under increased monitoring”.
Amir Rana, the director for PIPS, said despite the statistical decline in the incidents of terrorism, the severe challenge of religious extremism continued to manifest in 2020.
The report mentioned the enormous gathering at Allama Khadim Rizvi’s funeral in Lahore, growing individual and mob attacks on minority communities and their worship places, persisting narratives of hatred and hate speech, offline and online and continuing activities of banned religious organisations were witnessed during the year.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa witnessed the highest number of terrorist attacks for any one region of Pakistan, where 79 recorded terrorist attacks with 31 in North Waziristan alone claimed 100 lives and inflicted injuries on another 206 people.
In Balochistan, 95 people were killed and 216 others were injured in 42 reported attacks. Different Baloch insurgent groups perpetrated 32 attacks and religiously inspired militant groups such as the TTP, Hizbul Ahrar and ISIS-affiliates were reportedly involved in 10 attacks in Balochistan.
Pakistan is in the FATF’s grey list since June 2018 and the government was given a final warning in February 2020 to complete the 27 action points by June in the same year.
The FATF extended the June deadline to September due to the spread of coronavirus that disrupted the FATF plenary meetings.
Pakistan is facing the difficult task of clearing its name from the FATF grey list. As things stand, Islamabad is finding it difficult to shield terror perpetrators and implement the FATF action plan at the same time.