Conflict Alerts

Conflict Alerts # 27, 19 February 2020

Pakistan: Suicide terrorism returns to haunt Quetta
Mahath Mangal

In the news

On 17 February 2020, a suicide attack took place near the Quetta press club where a religious party was holding a rally. Eight people, including three from the security forces killed and over 20 injured. The suicide attacker attempted to break through the police barrier and enter the rally but blew himself up while being stopped by the security personnel.

Ironically, the attack took place the same day when the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres who is in Pakistan on a three-day visit, commented on Pakistan’s improved security situation.

The target of the suicide attack was the Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ), a political party with links to a sectarian armed group. The rally was held outside the press club to mark the death anniversary of Hazrat Abu Bakr. No one has claimed responsibility for this attack.

Issues at large

Quetta has been regularly witnessing suicide attacks during recent years. The latest one was the attack on the Quetta mosque on 10 January 2020.

Violence in Quetta today has multiple motives - nationalist, ethnic or sectarian motives. These attacks have become a threat to law and order in Quetta and for the rest of Balochistan, a province that is already hit by crime, terrorism, and violence of various other issues.

Despite addressing and tackling several terror elements, Quetta continues to be an endless victim of deadly attacks. Quetta, bordering Iran and Afghanistan is the capital of the mineral-rich province, Balochistan.

In perspective

Although measures have been taken to address these issues with the number of attacks and resulting casualties steadily declined, attacks like these continue raising the fears of relapse of violence.

Given the current economic and political situation in Pakistan, the government needs to maintain stability and peace and reduce the violence from non-state actors.

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