Police officers carry the coffin of Zareef Khan, who along with others was killed in a suicide blast at a mosque, during his funeral in Peshawar, Pakistan February 2, 2023. Image Credit: REUTERS

ISLAMABAD: Even as Pakistan mourns the death of 84 people in Monday’s Peshawar suicide attack, an Islamabad-based think-tank Pakistan Institute for Conflict and Security Studies (PICSS) has released its data that describes January 2023 as the ‘deadliest’ month in last five years and holds the New Year a challenging one with regard to the pattern and frequency of terrorist attacks.

According to the PICCS findings, 134 people were killed and 254 received injuries in at least 44 militant attacks across the country.

Fatalities increased by 139%

Although the number of terror incidents slightly declined in January, the number of fatalities increased in the same month. “This is a 139 per cent increase in the number of terrorist attacks,” says the PICCS data adding the pattern of terrorist attacks continued in the New Year, with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) remaining one of the worst victims.”

In January, overall, two suicide bombings were recorded, one in Peshawar and the other in the Khyber tribal district of the KP province.

According to PICSS data, in the KP, not only the militant attacks increased from 17 to 27, deaths caused by them also increased from 17 to 116 as compared with December 2022.

KP police main target of Peshawar blast

Majority of the 232 persons wounded in the Peshawar blast, belongs to the security forces personnel. KP Police was the main target of the militants, the PICCS data says adding Lakki Marwat remained the most troubled district of KP, where most of the militant attacks were reported in January, followed by DI Khan and Peshawar.

Militant attacks were also reported from Bannu, Charsadda, and Swabi, the data further shows. Southern KP has been facing a major militant offensive during the last few months, it says.

Violence in tribal districts of KP (former Federally Administered Tribal Areas or FATA) declined during January and only three militant attacks were reported from the former FATA region.

In December 2022, PICSS recorded 11 militant attacks in this region. Intelligence Based Operations (IBOs) are stepped up in erstwhile FATA, which was the main reason militant attacks declined in the area. In erstwhile FATA, no violent activity of the militants was noted other than in North Waziristan and

Terrorist attack in Punjab repulsed

Meanwhile, four militant attacks were reported from Punjab in which three security forces personnel were killed, while two low-profile attacks were reported from Sindh in which one person died.

The highest profile attack was carried out in Mianwali district’s Makerwal police station by around two dozen TTP militants a day after Peshawar suicide attack on Tuesday (January 31). This showed the nu-merical strength and ability to mobilize armed militants across KP and Punjab border, the think-tank held.

The attack was, however, repulsed and the terrorists had to flee. A video clip is viral on social media in which Inspector General of Police (IGP) Punjab Dr Usman Anwar can be seen meeting and commend-ing the Mianwali police personnel for foiling the terror attempt by TTP.

One attack each was reported from Rawalpindi, DG Khan, and Khanewal.