Pakistan

AOAV’s monitoring project, launched in October 2010, uses English-language media reports to capture information on who has been killed and injured by incidents of explosive violence.  We have over 10 years of explosive violence data recorded and analysed. This data below focuses on Pakistan.

Review

  • Pakistan has been the fourth worst-affected state by explosive violence over the past decade
  • From 2011-2020, AOAV recorded 29,661 deaths and injuries from explosive violence in Pakistan – of these, 20,714 (70%) were civilians
  • 93% of civilian deaths and injuries occurred when explosive violence was used in a populated area
  • IEDs caused, by far, the most harm in this period, with 73% of all civilian casualties resulting from this type of explosive
  • Ground-launched weapons were responsible for 20% of civilian casualties, whilst airstrikes accounted for 1%
  • 2013 was the worst year in this period for civilian casualties in Pakistan, with AOAV recording 4,274 deaths and injuries from explosive violence

In the first three years of the AOAV Explosive Violence Monitor, Pakistan continually ranked amongst the top three worst-affected countries by explosive violence. The first Explosive Violence Monitor in 2011, recorded 3,277 civilian deaths and injuries in Pakistan over the course of the year. As a result, AOAV cited Pakistan as the world’s second most dangerous country for civilians, behind Iraq. The following year there was little change in the levels of explosive violence in Pakistan, with the 2012 Monitor recording 420 incidences of explosive violence resulting in 3,287 civilian casualties. However, due to a stark rise in the levels of violence and civilian harm recorded in Syria that year, Pakistan was cited as the world’s third worst-affected country by AOAV.

In the 2013 AOAV Explosive Violence Monitor, Pakistan remained in third place, despite AOAV recording a 30% rise in the number of civilians killed or injured by explosive violence from the previous year. In 2013, there were at least 4,274 civilian casualties in Pakistan resulting from explosive violence, making it by far the worst year for civilian harm over the ten-year history of the Monitor. The sharp rise in casualties, between 2012 and 2013, occurred despite a large decrease in the incidents of drone strikes in the country, which fell by more than a half. However, as one form of explosive violence fell, another rose drastically, and AOAV recorded a 43% increase in the number of civilians killed and injured by IED attacks between 2012 and 2013. Although Iraq saw the majority of IED incidents and casualties in 2013, the deadliest incidences of IED explosions overwhelmingly took place in Pakistan. Of the five most destructive IED attacks recorded by AOAV in 2013, four occurred in Pakistan. This included the deadliest IED incident recorded globally that year, which took place when explosives hidden in a water tanker were detonated in a busy market in Quetta, northern Pakistan, killing 89 civilians and injuring 221.

Following the high levels of violence in 2013, civilian casualties fell in Pakistan in both 2014 and again in 2015, when, for the first time, AOAV did not cite Pakistan amongst the five countries worst-affected by explosive violence. Despite this fall, over the first five years of the Explosive Violence Monitor, AOAV recorded a total of 21,395 deaths and injuries caused by explosive violence in Pakistan, 67% of which were civilians. Most of these attacks were perpetrated by various groups which emerged out of, or were affiliated with, the original Afghan Taliban, or by the Balochistan insurgency, which continually harmed Pakistani security in the first half of the decade.

Although the 2016 Explosive Violence Monitor recorded a small rise in the number of civilian casualties in Pakistan, the country remained the sixth worst-affected country from explosive violence. However, a sharp rise in the number of civilian deaths and injuries the following year, meant that Pakistan was once again cited amongst the five most-dangerous countries in which to be a civilian in the 2017 Monitor. In 2017, AOAV recorded 2,255 civilian casualties in the country, representing a 50% rise from the previous year.

In recent years, however, explosive violence in Pakistan has been steadily decreasing. The 2018 Explosive Violence Monitor recorded 1,215 civilian casualties over the course of the year, representing a 46% fall from 2017. Despite this reduction, Pakistan was still cited as the second worst-affected country by suicide bombing in 2018, with AOAV recording 685 civilian casualties from this form of explosive violence. In both 2019 and 2020, explosive violence continued to fall. In 2019, AOAV recorded 719 civilian deaths and injuries, whilst in 2020 that figure fell to 684. Although falling civilian casualties in recent years are highly encouraging, current levels of violence still reflect deep insecurity within the country and must continue to be monitored.

Despite a fall in the levels of violence in recent years, over the ten-year history of the Explosive Violence Monitor Pakistan has witnessed 29,661 deaths and injuries resulting from explosive violence – 70% (20,714) of which were civilians. During this period, IEDs have been, by far, the most harmful form of explosive weaponry used in Pakistan – responsible for 73% of all civilian deaths and injuries. Furthermore, suicide bombings in Pakistan have remained at a high level throughout the past decade and were responsible for 28% of all recorded civilian casualties – making Pakistan one of the world’s worst-affected countries by suicide attacks. Falling trends in explosive violence do reflect an improvement in Pakistan’s security situation; however, levels of violence in the country remain a cause for concern.  

News: Explosive violence in Pakistan