Last Updated: Wednesday, 25 May 2016, 08:28 GMT

2009 Country Reports on Terrorism - Pakistan

Publisher United States Department of State
Publication Date 5 August 2010
Cite as United States Department of State, 2009 Country Reports on Terrorism - Pakistan, 5 August 2010, available at: [accessed 25 May 2016]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Foreign terrorist organizations, including al-Qa'ida (AQ) and its affiliates, continued to operate and carry out attacks in Pakistan. Violence stemming from Sunni-Shia sectarian strife and ethnic tensions, limited to certain geographical areas, claimed civilian lives. Similar to last year, attacks occurred with greatest frequency in the regions bordering Afghanistan, including Baluchistan, the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), and the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP). Attacks targeting the country's major urban centers, including Lahore, Islamabad, Peshawar, Karachi, and Rawalpindi, continued to increase.

The coordination, sophistication, and frequency of suicide bombings continued to climb in 2009. (See the NCTC Annex of Statistic Information or for precise figures). These suicide attacks often resulted in large numbers of casualties, with about 50 percent of them occurring in Islamabad, Lahore, Peshawar, and Rawalpindi. The terrorists launched complex attacks and chose high-value targets, coordinating their attacks with greater precision. Additionally, there were several audacious and deadly attacks on key security forces targets in retaliation for Pakistani military operations in Swat and throughout the Federally Administered Tribal Areas:

  • On October 10, terrorists attacked the Pakistan Army's General Headquarters in Rawalpindi.

  • On October 15, terrorists targeted three different security forces locations in Lahore simultaneously with assault rifles, hand-grenades, and suicide vests. Approximately 20 persons, mostly police personnel, were killed in these well-coordinated attacks.

  • On December 4, militants attacked a mosque in Rawalpindi with assault rifles, hand-grenades, and suicide jackets. Forty people, mostly members of the military and their families, were killed and more than 80 were injured.

  • Other high profile suicide bombings targeted the only four-star hotel in Peshawar, the offices of the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI) in Peshawar and Lahore, the office of the World Food Program (WFP), and the International Islamic University in Islamabad.

  • On February 2, ethnic Baluch separatists were involved in the kidnapping of UNHCR official and American national John Solecki, who was released by his captors on April 4.

  • On February 11, an ANP member of the NWFP provincial assembly, Alamzeb Khan, was killed in a remote-control bomb attack in Peshawar. Seven others were injured in the attack.

  • On March 3, militants attacked a bus transporting the visiting Sri Lanka cricket team and its accompanying police detail in Lahore. At least seven police officers were killed and several cricketers were injured.

  • On March 11, there was an unsuccessful suicide attempt against senior ANP leader and senior minister in NWFP government, Bashir Bilour. Two suicide bombers and four other persons were killed in the attack. (Bilour was also attacked in 2008.)

  • Another ANP member of the NWFP assembly, Dr. Shamsher Ali Khan, was killed and 11 others, including his two brothers, were injured in a suicide bomb blast in his native Swat. Khan's house was blown up by militants in May.

  • Dozens of ANP activists across NWFP were also assassinated by terrorists.

Besides targeting security forces, government institutions and elected representatives, terrorists systematically targeted perceived adversaries, such as aid workers, religious scholars, journalists, diplomats, senior military officers, and educational institutions.

  • On July 16, a Pakistani UNHCR official was killed along with his driver at the Katcha Garhi camp in a kidnapping attempt.

  • On September 2, there was an attempt to assassinate the Federal Minister for Religious Affairs, Hamid Saeed Kazmi, in Islamabad. He was injured in the attack, while his driver was killed and two guards were injured.

  • On June 12, an important moderate religious scholar, Dr. Sarfaraz Naeemi, was assassinated in a suicide attack. Five others were killed and seven injured in that bomb blast.

  • On August 24, an Afghan journalist, Janullah Hashimzada, was killed in Jamrud Tehsil of Khyber Agency.

  • The fate of Afghan and Iranian diplomats who were kidnapped from Peshawar last year remained unresolved this year, while another Pakistani working at the Iranian Consulate in Peshawar was shot and killed by terrorists on November 12.

  • Terrorists also continued targeting schools – especially ones for girls – in NWFP and FATA. Approximately 100 schools were attacked with explosives or rockets this year.

While the terrorists continued their violence against the population in Pakistan, the government made significant gains, clearing several areas of their control after the insurgents failed to honor an agreement with the government. On February 16, the NWFP government signed a peace agreement with Tehrik-i-Nifaz-i-Shariat-i-Mohammadi (TNSM) led by an elderly cleric, Sufi Mohammad, in the hope of restoring the writ of government in Malakand Division, including the districts of Buner, Dir Lower, Dir Upper, Malakand, Shangla, and Swat. While the government of NWFP acceded to all the demands of the TNSM, the latter refused to lay down its weapons. In a widely watched speech on April 19, Mohammad announced his disregard for the political system of Pakistan and asked government-appointed judges to leave Malakand Division. This proved to be a turning point, provoking a full-scale military operation across Malakand Division, code-named "Raah-i-Raast" (the way of the truth). Hundreds of terrorists were killed, injured, and arrested in the operation, which also resulted in the country's most extensive internal displacement crisis. The military operation succeeded, and life has gradually returned to normal in Malakand Division.

Another major blow to the terrorists in Pakistan was the August 4 death of the leader of Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Baitullah Mehsud. The top three leaders of the TTP, Hakimullah Mehsud, Wali-ur-Rehman Mehsud, and Qari Hussain, jockeyed for power after his death. Hakimullah Mehsud, a nephew of Baitullah Mehsud was eventually made the consensus leader and TTP increased its attacks. This prompted the military to intensify operations against the TTP, finally culminating in a full-scale ground offensive in South Waziristan code-named "Raah-i-Nijaat" (the way of riddance) in mid-October. As of December 7, the Pakistan army had cleared major towns and highways of the terrorists. The local population, however, still remained internally displaced and many extremist organizations have not been dislodged. At year's end, Pakistan's paramilitary Frontier Corps (FC) was engaged in fighting against a banned terrorist organization, Lashkar-i-Islam (LI), in the Bara subdivision of Khyber Agency, while the Pakistan Air Force and Army Aviation was striking the TTP in Orakzai Agency with aerial bombardment in advance of a possible ground assault. The Government of Pakistan claimed to have made gains against the TTP and its affiliates in the tribal agencies of Bajaur and Mohmand, where there were frequent clashes, including airstrikes, against the terrorists.

Sectarian violence claimed over 200 lives in 2009, and several high-casualty bomb blasts targeted Shia.

  • On February 5, 30 people were killed and 20 injured in a bomb blast near a Shia mosque in D.G. Khan in the Punjab.

  • On April 5, there was a suicide bomb blast at a Shia mosque in Chakwal in which 24 people were killed and 140 injured.

  • On December 28, a suicide bombing attack in Karachi during a Muharram procession killed at least 93 people, injured at least 75 others, triggering riots and arson.

  • There was also an increase in ethnic violence in Baluchistan, especially the killing of Punjabi settlers in Quetta.

The November 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India were attributed to the Pakistan-based militant group Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LT). LT was a designated terrorist organization before the Mumbai attacks, as was its humanitarian front, the Jamaat ud-Dawa (JUD), which the Government of Pakistan banned after the attack. The United Nations Sanctions Committee agreed to list the group and several individuals associated with it. In response to allegations of involvement by LT in the Mumbai attacks, Pakistani officials cracked down on an LT camp in Muzzafarabad and arrested or detained more than 50 LT or JUD leaders in Punjab and elsewhere in Pakistan, but it subsequently released many of them. LT remained a serious threat to Western interests.

Pakistani officials pledged to prosecute all individuals in Pakistan found to be involved in the Mumbai attacks and offered to share intelligence regarding the attacks with the Government of India. At year's end, however, peace talks between Pakistan and India remained frozen amid Indian allegations that Pakistan was not doing enough to bring the terrorists to justice.

Unlicensed informal hawalas (money changers) still operated illegally in parts of Pakistan. The informal and secretive nature of the unlicensed hawalas made it difficult for regulators to effectively combat their operations. Most illicit funds were moved through unlicensed operators, including through bulk cash smuggling.

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