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262 terror attacks killed 595 people in Pakistan in 2018

ISLAMABAD

At least 595 people, including Pakistani security officials, have been killed and 1,030 others injured in 262 terror attacks in the country during 2018, according to a report.

Most of the attacks were targeted at security and law enforcement agencies. Among these attacks, the most menacing were carried out on political leaders and workers.

The deadliest attacks took place in the run-up to the July 25 general elections, the Pak Institute for Peace Studies’ (PIPS), an Islamabad-based think tank, said in its annual Pakistan Security Report 2018.

In July, a suicide bomber killed 128 people at an election rally in southwestern Pakistan in the second election-related attack. The bombing was the most deadly attack in Pakistan in over three years.

It stated that there was a “29 per cent decline in terrorist attacks and 27 per cent in consequent fatalities in 2018, compared to previous year”.

The PIPS said that about 38 per cent of the total 595 people killed in acts of terrorism in Pakistan in 2018 were the result of five lethal attacks claimed by ISIS in Balochistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

“Balochistan was the only region where terrorism-related killings surged, by over 23 per cent, when compared to 2017; most of these fatalities resulted from attacks by religiously-inspired militant groups,” according to the report.

Around 171 attacks in entire Pakistan were perpetrated by the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and its splinter groups, Jamaatul Ahrar, Hizbul Ahrar and others, which killed 449 people.

Nationalist insurgent groups, mostly in Balochistan and a few in Sindh, carried out 80 attacks, martyring 96 people.

“As many as 11 terrorist attacks were sectarian-related, killing 50 people and injuring 45 others,” it said.

More than half of these attacks, around 136, hit security and law enforcement agencies. The security forces killed a total of 120 militants in 2018 as compared to 524 in 2017. It noted that 24 attacks were against political leaders and workers, in which 218 people were killed martyred and 394 injured.

A total of 131 cross-border attacks from Pakistan’s borders with Afghanistan, India and Iran, claiming 111 lives and injuring 290 others.

Balochistan remained the centre of attention with 354 people martyred in attacks while 59 per cent of the total toll in Pakistan took place in the province.

The PIPS report called for comprehensive policy and action to completely end violence from the country.

It said that questions were raised on the status of those banned individuals who signed Paigham-e-Pakistan – a violence-opposing decree – but continued to held protests and even paralysing cities. (PTI)

Donald Trump on ending shutdown: ‘We have to build the wall’

WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump stood firm Sunday on his demand for billions of dollars to fund a border wall with Mexico, which has forced a shutdown of the US government now entering its third week.

“We have to build the wall,” Trump told reporters as he left the White House for the Camp David presidential retreat, while conceding that the barrier could be “steel instead of concrete”.

“It’s about safety, it’s about security for our country,” he said.

“We have no choice.”

An impasse with lawmakers over funding for the border wall has partially shut down the federal government since December 22.

Talks aimed at ending the shutdown were to continue Sunday, after discussions a day earlier between Vice President Mike Pence and representatives of Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi, the top two Democrats in Congress, made little headway.

Democrats, who now control the House of Representatives, seem in no mood to make concessions to the president on a border wall Pelosi has described as an “immorality”.

“This shutdown could end tomorrow and it could also go on for a long time,” Trump said.

“It really depends on the Democrats.”

Both Democrats and Republicans have attempted to pin the blame for the shutdown on the other side.

Building a wall along the 2,000-mile (3,200-kilometre) US-Mexico border was a central plank in the 2016 election campaign of Trump, who has sought to equate immigrants with crime, drugs and gangs.

The president has described the situation at the border as a “national emergency,” and has said he is looking into ways to get a wall built without congressional approval. (PTI)

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