Security situation

Nederlands

The purpose of this COI Focus is to assess the security situation in Pakistan. It is particularly focused on the period from 1 January 2023 to 30 April 2024. Events that took place during the drafting of this report in April and May 2024 are also included. This report is an update of the COI Focus Pakistan. Security situation (February 28, 2023).

The security situation deteriorated in Pakistan in 2023 and early 2024. Compared to 2022, the Pakistan Institute for Peace Studies (PIPS) reported a 17 % rise of ‘terrorist incidents’. ACLED coded most security incidents in Pakistan in 2023 in the provinces Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) (754) and Balochistan (416). In the first trimester of 2024, ACLED registered 196 security incidents in KP and 271 security incidents in Balochistan. Especially in February 2024, when general elections took place, violence mounted in Balochistan. Independent candidates backed by Imran Khan won 93 seats in these elections, while PML-N came second with 75 seats and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) won 54 seats. PML-N and PPP formed a coalition government, nominating Shehbaz Sharif as Prime Minister.

In KP, a significant increase of violence resulted from the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan in August 2021. Cross-border movements by Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) militants from Afghanistan to Pakistan led to increasing numbers of attacks. According to PIPS, a total of 174 ‘terrorist incidents’ were registered in KP in 2023, a rise of 3 % compared to 2022. ACLED collected data on 754 violent events in KP province in 2023 and 196 in the first trimester of 2024. Analysis of these data shows that the security incidents in 2023 were mainly situated in the districts of North Waziristan, Dera Ismail Khan, Peshawar, Khyber and Bajaur districts. The TTP appears as the main actor of anti-state violence in KP, with North Waziristan and Dera Ismail Khan standing out as the districts where TTP is most active. ISKP is also present in KP, deploying its terrorist tactics mainly in the districts Bajaur and Peshawar. According to several sources, TTP attempts to distinguish itself from ISKP’s extremism by focusing its attacks on security and law enforcement officials and attempting to spare civilian lives. ISKP is primarily an urban phenomenon and is comprised of de-centralised units that target Shia sites rather than directly challenging the state. ISKP’s July 2023 suicide attack in Bajaur, which killed 54 people, proved its capability to perpetrate mass-casualty attacks. As of May 2024, no large-scale conflict-induced displacement from areas in and to KP has been reported. The Pakistani army has refrained from major new counteroffensives against TTP in KP.

In recent years, the insurgency by nationalist militants in Balochistan has been marked by destructive attacks on Pakistan security forces personnel and infrastructure. According to PIPS, a total of 110 ‘terrorist incidents’ were registered in Balochistan in 2023, an increase of 39 % compared to 2022. According to PIPS, the majority of these terror acts targeted personnel, vehicles and premises of security forces and law enforcement agencies. ACLED collected data on 416 security incidents in Balochistan in 2023. In February 2024, ACLED registered 151 security incidents in Balochistan, while in March 2024 the number decreased to 74. Analysis of the data from 2023 shows violence was mainly situated in the districts Kech, Quetta, Khuzdar and Kalat. Further analysis indicates that Baloch nationalist groups are the main actor of violence in the province. Besides security forces personnel and infrastructure, Baloch insurgent groups target Chinese projects and Chinese workers related to the development of the Gwadar Port in Balochistan. TTP and ISKP carried out a limited number of attacks in Balochistan. Sectarian violence is also still present in Balochistan, with the Hazara community of Quetta the target of a limited number of attacks in 2023.

The number of ‘terrorist incidents’ reported by PIPS in the provinces Punjab, Sindh, Islamabad, Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan in 2023 is limited compared to the levels of violence witnessed in KP and Balochistan. Although TTP, Baloch Nationalist Groups and ISKP commit violence outside of KP and Balochistan, ACLED reported considerably lower numbers of security incidents in 2023 in the provinces of Sindh (115), Punjab (70), in the Federal Capital of Islamabad (12), in Azad Kashmir (4) and in Gilgit-Baltistan (3). In Sindh, a number of terrorist attacks were committed by Sindhi nationalist groups.

Beleid

De veiligheids- en mensenrechtensituatie in Pakistan is problematisch. Heel wat Pakistaanse burgers worden blootgesteld aan etno-politiek of sektarisch geweld, en de Pakistaanse autoriteiten zijn vaak niet bij machte of onwillig om bescherming te verlenen. Het gros van het geweld dat in Pakistan plaatsvindt, kan toegeschreven worden aan de terreurorganisaties die in het land actief zijn. De terreurorganisaties viseren voornamelijk leden van de veiligheidsdiensten en het leger, leden van religieuze minderheden en politici. Daarnaast vinden er in Pakistan soms grootschalige aanslagen plaats die als doel hebben om een maximaal aantal slachtoffers te maken binnen een bepaalde gemeenschap. Doorgaans vormen religieuze minderheden, en dan vooral de sjiitische moslims, hierbij het doelwit. Dergelijke aanslagen zijn echter eerder uitzondering dan regel. De veiligheidssituatie in het land wordt verder beïnvloed door opflakkeringen van geweld tussen extremistische elementen en regeringstroepen in het noordwesten van het land en de nationalistische opstand in Balochistan.

Land: 
Pakistan

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