Terror Stalked the Streets of Pakistan in 2008

Here is an excerpt from weekly pager of the Center for Research and Security Studies (CRSS), Islamabad, Pakistan – Click here for complete pager.

Violence during the year 2008 peaked with a deadly attack on December 28 in the Buner district of the Northwestern Frontier Province (NWFP), where a suicide bomber rammed an explosives-laden car in to a polling station. TTP claimed responsibility and warned of more attacks. A Dec. 28 report by a private Pakistani news agency SANA said suicide bombers struck 61 times during the year, killing 889 people. Another report by the mass circulation daily The News on Dec 31, recounted about 66 suicide attacks and 965 deaths thereof all over the country, taking the average monthly casualties to at least 80. The Frontier Province and the FATA region bore the brunt of terrorism, suffering about 45 suicide bombings altogether. The Swat region topped the districts with about a dozen suicide attacks, followed by four in Peshawar. The most destructive – as far as the impact on the country as a whole – was the one on the Marriott Hotel in the well-guarded government district of Islamabad. Regardless of the official claims and the results of the operation in the Khyber Agency, widespread violence – some 475 acts of terrorism i.e. bomb blasts, suicide bombings, sniper attacks, and ambushes of officials in the Frontier Province alone – the outlook for the immediate future does not look encouraging. According to a recent Gallup Pakistan survey, only nine percent Pakistanis are hopeful of better times in 2009. In April 2008, over two months after the general elections, as many as 60 percent Pakistanis had hoped things would improve.

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