Attrition: Pakistan Is Still The Place To Run From


January 7, 2014: In 2013 both Pakistan and India saw a decrease in terrorist violence. In 2013 year India suffered 979 terrorism related deaths, down 16 percent from 1,171 in 2012. In Pakistan there were 5,366 deaths last year down 14 percent from 6,211 in 2012. Pakistan suffered 5.5 times as many deaths from terrorists and rebels as India (with six times the population.) In other words, adjusting for population, Pakistan is 33 times more violent than India, at least when it comes to terrorist and rebel caused deaths. The scariest form of terrorism in Pakistan is the suicide bomber, and there were 47 of these attacks in 2013, killing 701 people (average of 15 per attack). What made those attacks so scary was the fact that 64 percent of victims were civilians. Since September 11, 2001 Pakistan has suffered 376 suicide bomb attacks, leaving over 5,700 people dead.

In the last six years, Pakistan has suffered 43,000 terrorist related deaths, mostly in their northwest tribal territories. Relations between Pakistan and India continue to be frosty because Pakistan will not seriously go after Pakistan-based terror groups that have been making attacks inside India. Pakistan is has got itself into an absurd situation where it is providing aid and sanctuary to Islamic terrorists who often decide to make war on Pakistan as well. All this Islamic violence (against non-Moslems or other Islamic sects) has made life unbearable in many parts of Pakistan. Add to that the religious based terrorism built into the legal system and the rampant corruption, often by Islamic clerics making life miserable for you in other ways, it’s no wonder so many Pakistanis want to move elsewhere.

The patterns of violence are different in India and Pakistan. The political and religious violence in India consists of three different problems areas; Pakistani Islamic terrorists in the northwest, tribal separatists in the northeast and communist (Maoist) rebels in the east. There are also smaller numbers of Indian and Pakistani Islamic terrorists all over the country. The three rebellions account for over 90 percent of the terrorist deaths each year. Because of a major government offensive against the Maoists, deaths from the battered leftists were down last year. Less terrorist infiltration from Pakistan has lowered deaths in the northwest (Kashmir). There has been sharp drop in deaths in the tribal territories of the northeast. The government has negotiated peace deals, or suppressed by force, many of the tribal uprisings in that region.

Pakistan is a much more violent place. That said, the violence is down two years in a row, mainly because of the unofficial truce between the army and the Taliban and other Islamic terror groups. It's the truce none dare speak of, on the record at least, especially if you're a Pakistani government official. This refusal by Pakistan to defeat their own Taliban groups makes it impossible to shut down the Taliban across the border in Afghanistan.

In Pakistan, a lot of the deaths from organized terrorism are not caused by bombs, but bullets. Assassination via pistols or assault rifles is increasingly common. In Pakistan's largest city, Karachi, over 500 people will die each year from political assassins alone. Karachi contains about 11 percent of the national population.  Nationwide, more people are killed by small arms (mainly pistols) than bombs. But the suicide bombings are much more newsworthy, even though they kill fewer people than the assassinations (which are targeting, usually, political rivals.) But the political differences are often based on ethnic and religious ones. The million or so Pushtuns who have flocked to Karachi in the past decades, support political parties and criminal gangs that kill leaders of opposing parties (who retaliate, and so on.) As the Pushtun tribal territories have become less violent, more are dying from terrorism in Karachi and Baluchistan (where a lot of the “terrorism” is at the hands of police and soldiers kidnapping and killing suspected terrorists.)





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