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Pakistan: 28 civilians killed and injured in five attacks over Easter weekend

Between Friday April 7th, and Monday April 10th, AOAV recorded seven incidents of explosive weapon use across Pakistan, five of which killed and injured 28 civilians. 14 armed actors were also killed and injured in that time. 

Four grenade attacks killed and injured five civilians and five state actors (police officers and soldiers), while three IED explosions harmed 23 civilians and four state actors. Four state actors were killed and injured in one mortar attack, and six were harmed in one roadside bomb explosion. 

07/04/2023Man killed in twin remote-detonated IED explosions near a watchtower under constructoin in HarnaiBalochistan
07/04/2023Police officer killed, two injured in TTP grenade attack on their vehicle in Yar Hussain marketKhyber Pakhtunkhwa
08/04/2023Two soldiers killed, four injured in TTP roadside IED explosion against their vehicle in BaraKhyber Pakhtunkhwa
09/04/2023Boy injured in grenade attack on his father’s house in Matta TehsilKhyber Pakhtunkhwa
09/04/2023Four civilians, one police officer injured in grenade attack on a police station in SwabiKhyber Pakhtunkhwa
10/04/2023Two cops, two civilians injured in remote-detonated IED explosion on near a police van in Quetta’s Munir Mengal roadBalochistan
10/04/2023Two cops, two civilians killed, 18 civilians injured in BLA remote-detonated IED explosion near a police van in Quetta’s Qandahari marketBalochistan

The Baloch Liberation Army (BLA) was reportedly responsible for three of those attacks, killing and injuring 20 civilians and seven state actors, while the Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) harmed nine state actors across two incidents. Unknown non-state actors killed and injured eight civilians and three state actors. 

The attacks occurred in the Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces. AOAV recorded five incidents, 23 civilians harmed, and nine state actor harmed in Balochistan, and four incidents, five civilian casualties, and 10 state actor casualties in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. 

Armed bases, markets, and roads were the most targeted locations, with two attacks recorded in each, while one attack was recorded in police stations, urban residential areas, and other locations respectively. Attacks in markets were by far the most injurious to civilians, accounting for 20 of the 28 civilians killed and injured.

Overall, since 2010 AOAV has recorded 23,056 civilians killed and injured across 2,900 incidents of explosive weapon use in Pakistan. While 45% (1,305) of incidents are attributed to actors of unknown name and status, 32% (924) were reportedly perpetrated by non-state actors, and 23% (661) by state actors.

Correspondingly, non-state actors have reportedly caused 54% (12,433) of civilian casualties recorded in Pakistan since 2010, and state actors 7% (1,553).

AOAV has recorded at least 26 armed groups active in Pakistan since 2010. The Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has been the most injurious by far, with 4, 433 civilians reported killed and injured across 174 incidents – 25.5 civilians harmed, on average, per TTP attack. Civilians account for 79% of all 5,593 casualties of the TTP in Pakistan recorded by AOAV since 2010. In November 2022, the TTP ended their five-month-long truce with the Pakistani government, so their fight against the authorities is likely to keep claiming civilian lives. 

Pakistan has had a longstanding issue with the proliferation of armed groups on its territory. In particular, the legacy of the Afghan War is still making itself felt. Pakistan played a significant role, supporting the Mujahideen in their fight against the Soviet Union – many of these groups came to Pakistan after the Soviet withdrawal, forming a continued armed resistance against the Afghan and Pakistani governments. Furthermore, the intense sectarian divides in Pakistan, porous border with Afghanistan, and the weak state have provided fertile ground for armed groups to flourish. 

In 2022, Pakistan experienced the most injurious year since 2018, with AOAV recording 721 civilian casualties of explosive weapons use across 126 incidents. This marks a 62% increase from 445 civilian casualties recorded across 100 incidents in 2021. Incidents of explosive weapon use by non-state actors rose by 31% that year, from 71 to 93 incidents, and civilian casualties of such attacks rose by 47% from 376 to 554.

AOAV’s casualty figures represent the lowest of estimations in terms of the number of people killed and injured by explosive weapon use. In an effort to quantify the explicit harm caused by specific explosive weapons, AOAV solely records incident-specific casualty figures, as reported in English-language media.

AOAV condemns the use of violence against civilians and the use of explosive weapons in populated areas. All actors should stop using explosive weapons with wide-area effects where there is likely to be a high concentration of civilians.