A study conducted by an Islamabad-based independent think tank Pakistan Institute for Conflict and Security Studies (PICSS) revealed that the security situation has significantly improved during 2018 as number of attacks, resultant deaths as well as number of injured declined by 45 percent, 37 percent and 49 percent respectively compared with the year 2017. Number of suicide attacks has also declined.
During last one year the militants carried out 229 attacks in different provinces in which 577 people were killed including 356 civilians, 152 security forces personnel and 67 militants while 959 people injured including 693 civilians and 261 security forces personnel. The ratio of security forces casualties per attack has significantly increased during 2018 compared with 2017. PICSS study shows a consistent decline in militant attacks since Operation Zarb-e-Azb launched in June 2014. PICSS study shows that average militant attacks per month has further decline from 35 to 19 in 2018. It is worth noting that average militant attacks per month in 2014 was 134 which had dropped to 59 in 2015, 42 attacks per month in 2016, and 35 attacks per month in 2017.
Balochistan remained the most troubled province of the country where highest number of militant attacks (99), highest number of deaths (354) and highest number of injured (570) were recorded. The security situation in the province can be further gauged from the fact that 43 percent of the total attacks in the country, 61 percent of the total deaths and 59 percent of the total injuries took place in Balochistan. Second highest number of attacks were recorded in FATA where militants carried out 65 attacks in which 107 people were killed and 150 injured. In KP province, 40 attacks were recorded in which 72 people were killed and 174 injured. 14 attacks were recorded by PICSS in Sindh in which 21 people were killed and 20 injured. Punjab saw 6 militant attacks in which 18 people were killed and 42 injured. More footprints of the militants were observed in Gilgit-Baltistan than previous years as four militant attacks were recorded during the year in which five people were killed and three injured. At least 12 schools, mostly of the girls were destroyed in a single night in Diamer district of GB.
Another significant improvement was observed that the number of suicide attacks and resultant casualties also declined in 2018. A rise had been observed in the suicide attacks in 2017 in which 23 such attacks were recorded. However, the number declined to 18 in 2018 in which 267 people were killed and 460 injured. The deadliest suicide attack had targeted Nawab Siraj Raeesani, a popular Baloch politician during his election rally in July. ANP leader Haroon Bilor also lost his life in a suicide attack. July was the deadliest month of the year in which 228 people were killed and 423 injured. 40 percent of the total deaths took place in the month of July which was the month of general elections in Pakistan. The election campaign in 2013 was also targeted by the militants who consider democracy a non-Islamic system and often target political leaders.
Security forces actions also declined during 2018 due to improved security situation. Pakistani forces conducted 176 different types of reported actions in which 97 suspected militants were killed and 360 arrested. Major focus of the security forces was witnessed in Sindh and Balochistan followed by Punjab. In Sindh security forces conducted 50 actions in which 13 suspected militants were killed and 102 arrested. 47 suspected militants were killed in 41 security forces actions in Balochistan while 123 suspects were arrested. Punjab saw unusually a greater number of security forces actions than KP as 38 security forces actions were recorded in which 11 suspected militants were killed and 99 arrested. In KPK 27 actions of the forces were recorded in which eight suspected militants were killed and 20 arrested. In FATA, 25 suspected militants were killed and 3 arrested in 17 security forces actions while ten suspects were arrested from Gilgit-Baltistan in two activities of the security forces. Three suspects were nabbed from Federal capital in one action of the security forces in 2018.