A Policeman, identified as Rehman Bangash, was killed by unidentified assailants outside his residence in the Pehlwan Goth area of Gulistan-e-Johar in Gulshan Town, Karachi, the provincial capital of Sindh, on February 5, 2020.
Two Policemen were killed and another four persons were injured in a targeted shootout in Saddar Town, Karachi, on January 7, 2020. City Police Officer (CPO) Mohammad Ahsan Younas stated, on January 8, “The shooter who was killed during yesterday’s encounter with the police was affiliated with the Jamaat-ul-Ahrar group and some evidence available with the police also suggests that he was trained in Afghanistan.”
According to partial data compiled by the South Asia Terrorism Portal (SATP), Sindh registered a record low of 25 fatalities, including 15 civilians, five Security Force (SF) personnel and five militants, through 2019. There were 48 such fatalities, including 29 militants, 12 civilians and seven SF personnel, in 2018. Overall-terrorism related fatalities in 2019 thus registered a 48 per cent decline in comparison to 2018. There were a total of 248 fatalities in 2017.
Overall fatalities have been declining in Sindh since 2014 when fatalities fell to 1,147 from 1,656 in 2013.
2013 recorded the maximum number of fatalities in a year since March 6, 2000, when SATP started compiling data on major conflicts in Pakistan.
Other parameters of violence also witnessed considerable diminution. While Sindh accounted for eight major incidents (each involving three or more fatalities) of violence, resulting in a total of 33 deaths in 2018, 2019 recorded two such incidents, accounting for six fatalities.
One of the major attacks of the year was on February 13, 2019, when unidentified assailants killed three Pashtuns hailing from Bajaur District (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) while they were commuting in a three-wheeler near the Naudero Bypass in the Larkana District of Sindh. There was a maximum of 153 major incidents resulting in 375 deaths in 2014.
There was also a considerable decrease in the number of explosions in 2019.
In comparison to six blasts resulting in 17 fatalities and 14 injuries in 2018, the year 2019 recorded only one explosion resulting in one fatality and two persons injured. There a maximum of 116 blasts resulting in 194 fatalities in 2013.
Sectarian violence also remained under control, with just one incident in 2019 resulting in one fatality, the same numbers as in 2018. There were three such incidents in 2017, with 93 fatalities. Sindh had recorded a peak of 92 sectarian attacks in 2013, resulting in 122 deaths and 155 persons wounded.
Except for one incident of civilian killing, resulting in three fatalities, in Larkana District, all other incidents of killings (17) resulting in 22 fatalities in Sindh through 2019 were reported from Karachi District. Sindh has a total of 29 Districts. Karachi recorded 22 incidents of killing, resulting in 47 fatalities, in 2018.
When violence was at its peak, Karachi had recorded 1,168 incidents of killing resulting in 1,611 fatalities in 2013.
The then Karachi Police chief, Additional Inspector General (AIG) Ghulam Nabi Memon, told Dawn on December 31, 2019, that there was a 33.33 per cent reduction in the cases of target killing. In 2018, the numbers of target killing cases was 18, while 12 cases were reported in 2019. Police also succeeded in arresting 29 kidnappers who were involved in 32 cases of abduction in the city in 2019. Talking about terrorism incidents, the AIG Memon disclosed that there was no bomb blast in the city in 2019, while there were three such cases in 2018 and 51 cases in 2013.
Though there has been a significant reduction in the number of terrorist incidents in Karachi in 2019, the city did witness some shocking incidents.
On March 22, 2019, unidentified assailants on a motorcycle opened fire, targeting renowned religious scholar Mufti Taqi Usmani, in the NIPA Chowrangi area of Karachi, killing two of his guards. Mufti Usmani later told a private TV channel that he was travelling with his wife and two grandsons, who remained unhurt. The then chief of Karachi Police, Amir Ahmed Shaikh, had stated that the motive appeared to be bigger than sectarianism or terrorism as Mufti Usmani was a ‘towering personality’ who commanded respect across the country and the attackers wanted to create chaos in Karachi and the country as well.
Karachi’s relative calm is due to the presence of and periodic operations by the Pakistan Rangers (Sindh).
The Pakistan Rangers were called in on September 4, 2013, when violence in the city was surging, with a total of 1,547 fatalities recorded in 2012. The fatalities increased further to 1,656 in 2013. Since then, the Ranger’s operations in Karachi have been extended on a 90-day basis, requiring the Provincial Government’s requisition to the Federal Ministry of Interior, for approval of each extension. The latest extension was given on October 4, 2019, which ended on January 1, 2020. There has been no report until the time of writing regarding a further extension.
Earlier, on December 31, 2018, the Pakistan Rangers released a performance report of its ‘Karachi Operations’ between the period September 4, 2013, and December 31, 2018. The report claimed that 2013 recorded 57 incidents of terrorism, which increased to 66 in 2014 and further to 199 in 2015. The number of incidents decreased to 16 in 2016. No such incident was reported in 2017. Two incidents were recorded in 2018.
Further, incidents of target killings saw a steep decline: 965 in 2013; 602 in 2014; 199 in 2015; 89 in 2016; 45 in 2017; and nine in 2018. Similarly, recorded cases of extortion also declined: 1,524 in 2013; 899 in 2014; 303 in 2015; 101 in 2016; 65 in 2017; and 51 in 2018. Incidents of kidnapping also decreased from 174 in 2013 to 115 in 2014, 37 in 2015, 26 in 2016, 18 in 2017 and 13 in 2018.
Though terrorism-related incidents have declined dramatically, the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) suspected that a splinter group of Al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) had entered Karachi to carry out terrorist attacks.
“We have received reports that six ‘disgruntled’ militants of the AQIS recently arrived in Karachi from Afghanistan and they are trying to activate their sleeper cell,” CTD chief Raja Umar Khattab stated on October 13, 2019.
Khattab added that this was a splinter group of AQIS that comprised members of different communities who belonged to Karachi and had gone to Afghanistan. They had reportedly developed differences with their leadership, partly because their ‘services’ had not been utilized for a considerable period of time, prompting them to return to Karachi.
Moreover, The Eurasian Times stated, on January 21, 2020, that an Iranian gang has been found involved in street crime activities in Karachi.
According to police reports, between January 2015 and October 2019, a total of 92,889 persons were robbed at gunpoint in streets, roads and parking lots. Most of the victims didn’t resist, but 220 of those who resisted were killed by armed robbers. It is noteworthy, that street crime helps terrorism in Karachi to thrive.
Though, overall terrorism-related incidents touched an all-time low in 2019 due to the Rangers’ operational deployment, the persistent street crimes and the presence of latent terrorist elements remains a matter of concern.
Disclaimer: The facts and opinions expressed in this article are strictly the personal opinions of the author. League of India does not assume any responsibility or liability for the accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information in this article.
Published with permission from South Asia Intelligence Review of the South Asia Terrorism Portal.
COVID-19 World: 10,00,000 Cases, 53,000 Deaths; And Counting
The true extent of the pandemic is likely to be significantly greater.
WORLDWIDE: More than 1,014,499 people have been diagnosed with the COVID-19 disease worldwide, as the death toll surpassed 53,000 while about 212,000 patients recovered. Alarmingly, while the first 100,000 cases of the virus were reported after 55 days of its discovery, the first 500,000 cases mark was reached within a mere 76 days — indicating that the rate of infection appears to also be growing.
Total cases reported by Thursday grew 10 per cent from a day earlier, the first time the rate has hit double digits since the virus took hold outside China.
Dubbed COVID-19 by the World Health Organisation, the virus first spread in the city of Wuhan in China’s Hubei province in December, before reaching across to Italy, Iran and South Korea.
What makes it worse is that the true numbers are believed to be much higher, because of testing shortages, many mild cases that have gone unreported, and suspicions that some countries are covering up the extent of their outbreaks — as concerns have been raised over the truthfulness of figures coming from some governments including Tehran and Beijing.
The USA has seen by far the most cases, with at least 234,462, while Italy and Spain have also passed the 100,000 thresholds. Next is Germany, which has reported at least 84,264 cases, and then China, where the outbreak began, which researchers say has seen at least 82,432 cases.
US President Donald Trump acknowledged on Wednesday that the federal stockpile is nearly depleted of the protective equipment needed by doctors and nurses, and some “horrific” days lie ahead.
The case numbers skyrocket, rising from more than 12,000 to more than 212,000 in the space of a fortnight. Deaths in the country have also risen from 175 to 4,746 in the same span of time, while today figures showed more than 6.6 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week in the latest indication that the pandemic is ravaging the nation’s economy.
In one of the worst hotspots around the country, Louisiana, deaths climbed to at least 310 and confirmed infections spiked 42% to nearly 9,200, in what Governor John Bel Edwards attributed in part to backlogged test results finally coming back from laboratories.
“We want people focused on what they can do about it. Don’t be despondent. Don’t despair. Don’t throw your hands up,” he said. “We can determine how bad it gets by whether we comply with the social distancing, the stay-at-home order and all the hygiene we’ve been promoting.”
Among the grimmest scenarios, the coronavirus pandemic death toll in Spain passed 10,000 on Thursday, as the country reported its highest single-day number of deaths since the outbreak began, with the total rising by more than 1,000 to 10,096 among 110,238 infections.
There are 117 countries and territories that have reported over 100 cases, 50 with outbreaks of over 1,000 and seven that have reported 50,000 or more COVID-19 cases – the US, Italy, Spain, Germany, China, France and Iran.
Developing story. More soon.
COVID-19: Spain Sees New Daily High As Death Toll In Europe Surpasses 21,000
Following Italy and Spain, Germany became the latest European nation with over 50,000 confirmed cases.
MADRID (Spain): The COVID-19 pandemic continued to ravage Europe, with the death toll in the region climbing to over 21,000 out of more than 360,000 confirmed cases.
According to data from the World Health Organization (WHO), a total of 616,742 COVID-19 cases and 29,532 deaths have been reported globally as of 10:00 a.m. CET Sunday, of which, 361,457 cases and 21,496 deaths were registered in Europe.
Following Italy and Spain, Germany became the latest European nation with over 50,000 confirmed cases, while Spain saw the highest single-day fatalities in the day.
NEW: Saturday 28 March update of coronavirus mortality trajectories
• UK passes Italy, 2nd only to Spain for deaths at this stage of outbreak 📈
• US deaths doubling every 3 days, curve keeps steepening
• India tracking US
— John Burn-Murdoch (@jburnmurdoch) March 28, 2020
Highest Daily Deaths In Spain:
With 838 deaths recorded in the past 24 hours, Spain saw the highest daily COVID-19 death toll on Sunday, according to data from its Ministry of Health, Consumer Affairs and Social Services.
The figure is six more than the previous figure, bringing the total death tally to 6,528 since the first death in the country was confirmed on March 3.
Meanwhile, the country detected 6,549 new COVID-19 patients, pushing the total number of confirmed cases to 78,797.
Madrid continues to be the worst affected part of the country as the pandemic has claimed 3,082 victims, or 47 percent of all deaths nationwide, and infected 22,677 people in total.
Italy Remains Worst Hit:
In Italy, the worst-hit European country, local news media noted, a day after its death toll topped 10,000, that around one-third of the worldwide death toll from the pandemic so far has been contained within Italy’s borders.
As of Sunday, 10,779 people have died from COVID-19 in the southern European country. That is more than Spain and China, the next two countries suffering the most fatalities, combined.
Meanwhile, the total number of people confirmed to have coronavirus in Italy — combining active cases, deaths, and recoveries — climbed to 97,689 Sunday, 5,217 above the level recorded a day earlier.
Civil Protection Department Chief Angelo Borrelli said the number of new cases was higher than 3,651 a day earlier, but evidence showed that new cases could be plateauing.
Rising Caseload Elsewhere:
With 3,965 new COVID-19 cases, Germany’s total number has increased to 52,547, making it the third nation in Europe with over 50,000 cases. Meanwhile, the death toll in the country remained low at 389 as of Sunday.
In Britain, the total number is approaching the 20,000 mark. With 2,433 more cases, the country has confirmed 19,522 cases as of Sunday morning.
Also on Sunday, Belgium and the Netherlands became the latest European countries with over 10,000 cases each, after Italy, Spain, Germany, France, Britain and Switzerland.
With 1,702 new cases in the past 24 hours, the total number of confirmed cases in Belgium, a country with some 11 million population, has reached 10,836, while total deaths increased to 431, according to data from the public health institute Sciensano.
In the Netherlands, the total number of cases and deaths has reached 10,866 and 771 respectively. With 132 new deaths, the death toll was the highest single-day figure so far in the country after Friday’s 112 and Saturday’s 93.
COVID-19: Not A Single Case In Bangladesh In The Last 48 Hours
The death toll remains at 5 though there are reports of 5 deaths due to severe flu-like symptoms from some districts.
DHAKA (Bangladesh): In what could be served as a beacon of hope, no new cases of COVID-19 have been detected in the last 48 hours in Bangladesh.
Professor Meerjady Sabrina Flora, director of Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR), said during an online press briefing on Sunday afternoon that “there have been no reported cases of COVID-19 infected patients in Bangladesh in the last 24 hours.”
Bangladesh on Saturday also reported no new cases of COVID-19 in the previous 24 hours, meaning that the country’s total infections remain static at 48 confirmed cases as of Friday.
On Friday, four more people were tested positive for COVID-19, making the total to 48 in the country.
Bangladesh on Wednesday announced the fifth death.
While the death toll remains at 5, there are reports of 5 deaths due to severe flu-like symptoms from some districts.
A total of 15 COVID-19 patients have recovered so far in Bangladesh.
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