On early reports, at least 72 people have been killed and more than 300 injured in a suicide blast inside the Gulshan-e-Iqbal Park in the Iqbal Town area of Lahore, the provincial capital of Punjab Province, on March 27, 2016. Lahore's District Coordination Officer Muhammad Usman stated, "The bomber managed to enter the park and blew himself up near the kids' playing area where kids were on the swings”. Significantly, a large number of people, mostly Christians were present in the park, celebrating Easter [Christendom's holiest day].
First pubslidhed in South Asia Intelligence Review
After nearly six months of investigation in a case related to the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant [ISIL, later, the Islamic State (IS)], the National Investigation Agency (NIA), filed a charge sheet on May 20, 2015, before the NIA Special Court in Mumbai.
First published in South Asia Intelligence Review
On February 18, 2015, at least four Shias were killed and another six were injured in a suicide attack during evening prayers at a mosque inside Qasr-e-Sakina Imambargah (Shia place of worship) located on Kurri Road in the New Shakrial area of Rawalpindi District in Punjab. Police sources stated that the suicide bomber opened fire before trying to enter the mosque. When challenged by guards deployed at the Imambargah, the attacker attempted to detonate his explosive vest, but failed to do so. The explosive vest was diffused later. Fahad Marwat, a 'spokesman' of Jundullah, a splinter group of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), claiming responsibility for the attack, declared that the blast was in a reaction to the ongoing operation Zarb-e-Azb [Sword of the Prophet] in the North Waziristan Agency of Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).
First published in South Asia Intelligence Review 13.34
Despite the US-Pakistan relationship approaching its nadir, and Pakistan’s continuing domestic crises, there is little to suggest that Pakistan is going correct course and to improve, in the foreseeable future, its current rank, as the 12th among the countries approaching state failure. Indeed, available indices suggest that none of the power players in the country have altered the fundamentals of their devastating, indeed, suicidal, approach to the instrumentalization of Islamist extremism and terrorism, both for domestic political management and for strategic extension across and beyond the country’s neighbourhood. Increasing cooperation, outside state patronage, among Islamist extremist formations, under umbrella organizations such as the Shura-e-Muraqba and the Difa-e-Pakistan (Defence of Pakistan) Council (DePC) (the latter, forging unity between more than 40 religious and extremist formations under the leadership of the LeT-JuD), creates the spectre of even greater radicalization and a progressive loss of control by state agencies that have, in the past, ‘handled’ Islamist terrorism in the region. A flight of elites from the country has long been in evidence, even as those who remain within the country build up their assets abroad for eventual and quick escape. The progressive evisceration of state structures and institutions of governance, the visible weakening of the Army’s stranglehold over the country’s affairs, and the increasing accumulation of armed force among non-state actors can only combine with rising popular frustrations and anger against arbitrary, repressive, indiscriminate and often brutal state action against groupings that seek justice and redressal of real grievances, to push the country further into the embrace of a rising anarchy.
First published in the South Asia Intelligence Review (SAIR)