More Pakistanis died in incidents described by law enforcement agencies as encounters than in gun violence or in suicide attacks in 2017, according to the findings of a research conducted by the Center for Research and Security Studies, a leading Pakistani think-tank.
A similar pattern was observed by CRSS researchers for 2016 with fatalities from alleged encounters between law enforcement agencies and criminals the highest, followed by those from gun violence and those from suicide attacks.
The study shows that in 2017, 495 people were reported killed in what the law enforcement agencies said were “shootouts”. The number of those killed in gun violence was 399, those in suicide attacks 298, and in bomb explosions 144. The corresponding numbers for 2016 were 645 in alleged encounters, 485 in gun violence, and 376 in suicide attacks.
The study found that sectarian violence escalated drastically in 2017, with a 32 percent increase from 241 fatalities in 2016 to 319 in 2017.
Overall, the report maintains that the country witnessed a 21 percent decline in violence-related deaths in 2017. Except for Punjab, all other provinces or regions showed a decline in violence.
As many as 4,131 casualties were reported in violent incidents in 2017, including 2,057 deaths and 2,074 injuries. In contrast, there were 2,613 deaths in 2016 and 4,647 in 2015. “While the decline is not as dramatic this year, the continually improving security situation is a positive development,” said a press statement released on the occasion.
Of the top five districts with the highest number of deaths, three were provincial capitals – 337 killings were reported from Karachi, 149 from Lahore, and 128 from Quetta, said CRSS, which is based in Islamabad, in its report.
In Punjab, there was a 10 percent increase in violence-related fatalities in 2017. Still, Balochistan remained the province with the highest number of fatalities in absolute terms. As many as 489 killings were reported in various incidents of violence from Baluchistan, followed by Punjab at 469, Sindh at 455, and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas at 436. The largest change was observed in Khyber Pukhtunkhwa, where fatalities dropped from 357 in 2016 to 192 in 2017, a decline of 53 percent.
The detailed Annual Security Report will be released in late January.