Attacks down almost 20 percent in Pakistan

A report from PIPS said urban "terrorism" is a growing threat in Pakistan.

Islamabad: Pakistan gained ground against militant violence in 2010, but urban "terrorism" is a growing threat and military success will not bring stability unless a comprehensive strategy is developed, a think tank said.

A report from the Pak Institute for Peace Studies (PIPS) to be released on Monday says the number of incidents of "violence and terrorism" in Pakistan fell by 11 percent in 2010 compared with the previous year.

The number of suicide attacks fell by 22 percent to 68 in 2010, compared with 87 in 2009, PIPS said.

But the nuclear-armed South Asian country has yet to come up with a sound, long-term strategy to tackle militancy, PIPS said. A total of 2,113 militant, insurgent and sectarian attacks were reported across the country in 2010, killing 2,913 people, it said.

The United States has been waging war against Taliban militants in Afghanistan for nearly 10 years, but many Western nations think neighbouring Pakistan poses a bigger threat.

Pakistan`s lawless Pashtun tribal areas in the northwest are home to some of the world`s most feared militant groups, including ones who attack Western forces in Afghanistan.

Military campaigns are draining the US-backed government`s coffers, while public discontent is deepening over poverty and corruption, complicating efforts to stabilise the country.

"Better coordination among intelligence agencies, capacity building of law enforcement agencies, curbs on terrorism financing, and most importantly, adequate measures to prevent banned militant groups from operating across the country remained persistently lacking," PIPS said in its annual Pakistan security report.

Pakistan`s military has launched a series of anti-Taliban offensives in the militant-infested northwest that have disrupted their activities. A sharp rise in US drone strikes also contributed to the decrease in militant attacks, PIPS said.

Still, sustainable security remains elusive because of the "less than impressive performance of a weak political administration beset by chronic challenges of poor governance," said PIPS.

Security crackdowns have focused on the northwest but instability in Pakistan`s biggest city and commercial capital Karachi is a growing concern. Aside from political, ethnic and gang violence, authorities there are confronted with a growing nexus of militant groups who have found safe havens there.

As many as 93 militant attacks which killed 233 people were reported in 2010, PIPS said. In one high-profile attack in November, a Taliban suicide car bombing demolished a crime investigation department compound where senior militants were interrogated. At least 18 people were killed and 100 wounded.

Overall violence in Karachi spiked by 288 percent, PIPS said.

Bureau Report

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