Attacks in Pakistan killed 151 in March

Islamabad, April 2 (IANS) At least 120 civilians, 19 militants and 12 security forces personnel were killed in militant attacks in Pakistan in March, a statement said.

Though the number of militant attacks decreased in March, an escalation in high-profile terror activities resulted in more casualties compared to February.

This was stated in a monthly security assessment report released by the Pakistan Institute for Conflict and Security Studies (PICSS) on Friday, Dawn reported.

The report said security forces eliminated 108 militants and arrested 983 suspects. “March was the bloodiest month of the first quarter of 2016 with 151 casualties in 46 militant attacks.”

The over three-time increase in the casualties was due to the rise in high-profile attacks, including the Charsadda courts attack, Civil Secretariat bus attack in Peshawar and the Gulshan-i-Iqbal Park attack in Lahore.

The report said the operational capabilities of militants started to improve in 2016 as their command and control structure was intact in Afghanistan.

“The increase in high-profile attacks in urban areas showed that financial pipelines of militants were reconnected. During intelligence-based operations, security forces busted their major source of finance through kidnapping for ransom.”

In Federally Administered Tribal Areas 12 millitants, five civilians and three security personnel were killed in 13 militant attacks during the month.

In Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, 29 civilians were among 40 people, including 12 security personnel killed. The province witnessed more high-profile attacks as at least 17 people were killed in the Charsadda bombings.

As many as 14 people were killed and 55 injured when a bomb ripped through a bus carrying government employees in Peshawar.

Punjab saw the deadliest attack of the year so far when a blast in Gulshan-e-Iqbal park killed 79 people and injured 340 others.

The attack resulted in the start of a military-led operation against suspected militants in the province.

A slight increase in militant attacks was observed in Sindh where five people were killed and 24 were injured in 11 militant attacks. January and February each had witnessed seven militant attacks.

Twenty two suspected militants were killed in Sindh in 29 security forces actions during March 2016 while 44 suspects were arrested.

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