INDIA
PAKISTAN
NEPAL
BHUTAN
BANGLADESH
SRI LANKA
Terrorism Update
Latest
S.A.Overview
Publication
Show/Hide Search
HomePrint
 
  Click to Enlarge
   

SAIR Archive            SOUTH ASIA INTELLIGENCE REVIEW          LATEST ON SATP
Weekly Assessments & Briefings
Volume 16, No. 23, December 4, 2017

Data and assessments from SAIR can be freely published in any form with credit to the South Asia Intelligence Review of the
South Asia Terrorism Portal


ASSESSMENT


PAKISTAN
Click for PrintPrint

Targeting the Future
Tushar Ranjan Mohanty
Research Associate, Institute for Conflict Management

At least nine persons, including six students, were killed and 37 were injured when Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) terrorists attacked the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) in Peshawar, the provincial capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), on December 1, 2017. At least four attackers wearing suicide jackets under burqas (veils) reached the compound in a rickshaw. Their first target was the security guard, after which they headed inside towards the ATI students' hostel. Two soldiers were also injured in the rescue operation. A cache of arms and ammunition, including three suicide jackets, 20 hand grenades, AK-47 rifles and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) were recovered from the incident site.  According to reports, about 120 college residents, out of a total of nearly 400, were present at the time of the attack. Most of the others had gone home for a long holiday weekend.

TTP took the responsibility for the attack, claiming that it was not targeting the Institute, but a safe house belonging to Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) in the same area.

The worst ever attack targeting educational institutions in KP, indeed, across Pakistan, took place on December 16, 2014, when terrorists had attacked the Peshawar Army Public School (APS)  killing at least 148 persons, including 135 children.

Between the APS and ATI attacks, according to partial data compiled by the South Asia Terrorism Portal (SATP), KP recorded at least two attacks on educational institutions, resulting in 21 deaths and 37 injuries (data till December 1, 2017. These included:

May 19, 2017: A schoolboy and watchman of the school sustained injuries in a bomb attack on a private school in the Shabqadar tehsil (revenue unit) area of Charsadda District in KP. No one took responsibility for the attack.

January 20, 2016: Four TTP fidayeen (suicide attackers) stormed the Bacha Khan University campus in the Charsadda District, killing at least 21 persons, including 17 students, two gardeners, a caretaker and a professor. Another 35 persons were injured in the attack. TTP had taken responsibility for the attack.

KP, according to the South Asia Terrorism Portal (SATP) database, has seen a near-continuous declinein terrorism-linked fatalities since their peak at 1,206 killed in 2011 (there was a significant but transient spike in 2013), to just 121 killed in 2017, including 55 terrorists, 40 civilians (data till December 3). During the corresponding period of the preceding year, the Province had recorded 212 such fatalities, including 123 civilians, 49 SF personnel, and 40 terrorists. There was just one more fatality (one SF) in the remaining period of 2016. Meanwhile, overall terrorism-linked fatalities across Pakistan stood at 1,197, including 509 civilian, 488 terrorists and 200 SF personnel in the current year. During the corresponding period of the preceding year, the nation had recorded 1,758 such fatalities, including 860 terrorists, 606 civilians, and 292 SF personnel. There were another 45 fatalities (38 terrorists, six civilians and one SF trooper) in the reaming period of 2016.

Significantly, after the APS Peshawar attack, many loopholes in the security arrangements of educational institutions had come to light. Then media reports indicated that less than 10 per cent of schools in KP had adequate security arrangements to thwart APS-like attacks, while the rest were functioning without or with insufficient protection for the students. There are more than 3,200 private and public schools in Peshawar alone, but just over 200 were issued “no objection certificates” (NOCs) indicating that they had adopted adequate security measures.

Qaiser Alam Khan, Additional Secretary, Elementary and Secondary Education had disclosed on January 25, 2015, that 50 per cent of Government schools in Pakistan had no boundary walls; at least 11 per cent in KP did not have protective walls. Khan also stated that 4,000 schools across the Province had no boundary walls at that time. He also noted that the Government has allocated PKR 7.5 billion for the state-owned educational institutions, and that PKR two billion were to be spent by June 30, 2015, while the remaining amounts would be carried forward and spent till 2017.  

Further, according to an April 6, 2015, report, the KP Police had been directed to inspect the security arrangements in and around public and private sector educational institutions to avoid APS-like attacks in future. Special committees of representatives of the Police, District Administration and Education Department had been constituted to visit schools, colleges and universities. The Police inspected 4,058 educational institutions in the provincial capital under the National Action Plan (NAP) and issued notices to 3,239 for inadequate security. Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), Operations, Peshawar, Mian Saeed Ahmad disclosed, “The police have inspected 1,280 educational institutions in the limits of city, 1,080 in cantonment and 1,698 schools, colleges and universities in the rural areas. Over 1,200 of these institutions in city, 967 in cantonment and 974 in rural areas were issued notices to improve security.”

Similarly, in the wake terrorist attack on the Bacha Khan University, Inspector General of Police (IGP), KP, Nasir Khan Durrani issued detailed security guide lines on January 26, 2016, for enhancing the security of educational institutions to the Capital City Police Officer (CCPO), Peshawar, Regional Police Officers (RPOs) and District Police Officers (DPOs). These security guidelines pertained to the employment of security staff, manning entry and exit points, establishing observation posts, raising and fencing perimeter walls, ensuring patrolling and vigilance inside and outside the premises, effective communication within the security staff, installing SOS alert systems, managing school entry systems, constituting parents vigilance committees and organizing drills and rehearsals. The DPOs had been directed to convene a meeting of all heads of private schools and colleges, government schools and colleges and vulnerable educational institutions, along with the representatives from the Education Department and District Administration, to sensitize them about vulnerabilities and advise them to take appropriate security measures.

The security of educational institutions all over KP has since purportedly been upgraded. Peshawar Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), Operations, Abbas Majeed Marwat claimed, on September 14, 2017,
Twenty special Anti-Terrorist Squad and Elite Police force units have been deployed across the district to keep a check on the security of schools, colleges and universities. Each of the units includes six or seven specially trained police commandos. In addition, all the sub divisional officers have been directed to conduct a security audit and inspection of the educational institutions on daily basis.

The SSP along with other officers have paid dozens of visits to the schools, colleges and universities of the provincial capital to inspect their security arrangements.

KP Education Minister Atif Khan claimed further, on September 14, 2017,
We have raised the boundary walls of the government-run schools while barbed wire has also been placed so no one can scale these walls from the back side. The KP Government also has trained security guards of a number of schools to help ensure protection of school buildings and millions of children.

The ATI attack, however, once again demonstrates that providing security to educational institutions, particularly in KP, is not possible without creating an environment of all-round peace in the country. With terrorism and extremism rampant across the Province and the country at large, selective measures to secure educational institutions can provide no real protection to the children and youth in these establishments.

NEPAL
Click for PrintPrint

Hopes and Fears
S. Binodkumar Singh
Research Associate, Institute for Conflict Management

After a gap of 18 years, the first phase of Provincial and Parliamentary Elections was held across 32 Hill Districts in six Provinces on November 26, 2017. 65 per cent of the 3.19 million voters cast their votes. Elections in the first phase took place for 37 federal Parliamentary and 74 Provincial Assembly seats. There are 165 seats in the House of Representatives and 330 in the Provincial Assemblies in total. The remaining seats are scheduled for elections on December 7, 2017, in the second phase covering 45 Districts, including Kathmandu valley and the southern plains of Nepal known as the Terai. The country must conduct the elections to the House of Representatives and Provincial Assemblies by the constitutional deadline of January 21, 2017. This is for the first time that elections for the Parliament and Provincial Assemblies are being conducted under the new Constitution adopted on September 20, 2015. The last parliamentary poll was held in 1999.

After the conclusion of the elections, the Election Commission (EC) claimed the first phase a “historic success” except for violent incidents in a few polling centers. Similarly, attributing the peaceful conduct of elections to the effective and good security arrangements by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA), its Spokesman Narayan Prasad Sharma Duwadi noted “Due to the Ministry’s security plans, the election was not disturbed anywhere.”

Some violent incidents were reported on the polling day. Three persons sustained injuries in clashes that erupted among supporters of the Democratic Alliance and Left Alliance at the Deurali Primary School polling centre in Sindhupalchowk District; two Policemen were injured after an unidentified gunman shot them during a security check in Niradnama of Siraha District; a bomb exploded at the main gate of the Panchakanya Secondary School election centre while voters were casting their ballots at Chyangre in Pauwadung Rural Municipality–3 in Bhojpur District; a bomb exploded at Bhagawati Secondary School at Aatharai Tribeni Rural Municipality in Taplejung District, halting the election proceedings for two hours; a sutli (string) bomb went off at a polling station at Chyangre in Pauwadumma Rural Municipality–3 in Bhojpur District; voters loyal to the Left Alliance captured the Gaurishankr Rural Municipality-based Suri polling centre in Dolakha District and chased away Nepali Congress (NC)-aligned voters; Police arrested seven cadres of the Left Alliance after they tried to capture the Eklebari Ward Office polling centrer at Tamakoshi Rural Municipality–1 in Dolakha District. Meanwhile, Police Headquarters claimed that a total of 10 Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) were recovered during the election period from Jajarkot, Nuwakot, Darchula, Rupandehi, Rolpa, Dolakha, Kapilvastu, Baglung and Taplejung Districts.

Further, there was pre-poll violence in various Districts. According to partial data compiled by the South Asia Terrorism Portal (SATP), 16 persons were injured in 13 incidents of bomb explosion and another 11 were injured in five incidents of clashes. Security fears were also triggered amid incidents of explosions targeting candidates and their campaigns in several parts of the country. As a result, compared to the average turnout during the Constituent Assembly (CA) elections on November 19, 2013 and three local level elections held on May 14, June 28, and September 18, 2017, respectively, voter participation in the present election, at 65 per cent, was lower. There was a 78.74 per cent turnout in the CA polls, and 74.16 per cent in the local level elections.

On November 12, 2017, concerned about pre-poll violence, the EC directed MoHA and security agencies to control incidents of violence in the run-up to the first phase of provincial and parliamentary polls slated for November 26. Further, as the incidents of poll-related violence increased, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Ayodhi Prasad Yadav addressing a high-level security meeting at the EC’s central office in Kantipath, Kathmandu, on November 21, 2017, directed top officials of all security agencies — Nepali Army, Nepal Police, Armed Police Force and National Investigation Department — and the MoHA to ensure proper security for people.

Amidst the sudden rise in incidents of violence targeting candidates and election campaigns during the first phase, the National Security Council (NSC) in a confidential report on October 23, 2017, noted that the Netra Bikram Chand-led Communist Party of Nepal (CPN) was the major security threat to the elections scheduled on November 26 and December 7. The report stated that the Chand-led group had formed a parallel People’s Government and People’s Court. The group had mobilized its National Volunteer Organization, the youth wing of the party, which had decided to boycott elections. According to the NDC report, the Chand-led group decided to launch various activities to disrupt elections in coordination with other forces who are opposed to the New Constitution. The party also decided to ‘expose’ both the left alliance and democratic alliance, which are in favour of parliamentary democracy, through various activities. The group has been organizing closed-door training sessions and meetings, and has also expanded its organizational bases through conferences and cultural activities.

Meanwhile, according to the Chand-led CPN’s secret circular obtained by Republica on November 18, 2017, the party had directed its organization to prepare plans to foil the polls: “Our party comrades should resort to small and medium scale physical action in a responsible fashion but avoid causing human casualties.” The party instructed rank and file about the decision to continue the physical action until November 25, a day before the polls in 32 Hill Districts. The circular further states that the party has decided to protest against parliamentary polls in line with its stance against the parliamentary system of governance.

On November 24, 2017, MoHA instructed the Police to arrest top leaders of the Chand-led CPN including Chand, Khadga Bahadur Biswokarma and Dharmendra Bastola among others, as part of its intensified move to curb anti-election activities. The instruction came in line with MoHA’s conclusion that the Chand-led CPN is a major security threat to the elections. 49 Chand-led CPN cadres were arrested from various Districts during the first phase, for anti-elections activities.

In a dramatic turn of events on October 3, 2017, the chiefs of three left political parties – Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML), Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist Centre (CPN-Maoist Center) and Naya Shakti Party-Nepal (NSP-N) – formed an electoral alliance, the Left Alliance, to contest the upcoming Provincial and Parliamentary elections. Reading out the six-point agreement, CPN-Maoist Center leader Janardan Sharma observed that the three parties would merge and form a sole communist force after the elections. The agreement read: “An eight-member unification coordination committee would be formed immediately to facilitate preparations for the merger, which the party said would be held as soon as possible after the polls.”

Responding to the move of the CPN-UML to forge a Left Alliance for the upcoming provincial and parliamentary elections, a meeting held at the Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba’s official residence at Baluwatar, Kathmandu on October 4, 2017, between the top leaders of NC, Rastriya Janata Party Nepal (RJPN), Federal Socialist Forum Nepal (FSFN), Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP), Rastriya Prajatantra Party-Democratic (RPP-D) and Madhesi Janadhikar Forum (MJF), decided to forge an electoral alliance – the Democratic Alliance – for the upcoming elections. Reacting against the Left Alliance, NC Central Working Committee (CWC) on October 6, 2017, concluded that the Left Alliance was against national unity and the democratic system, and could affect Constitution implementation and the peace process.

Later, NC President Deuba, addressing a function organized at the party's headquarters at Sanepa in Lalitpur District to unveil the party's election manifesto on October 31, 2017, observed, "The communist alliance is trying to undermine democracy. Democracy has given people all sorts of rights. But under communism people's right to protest against injustice is usurped. There is not even right to cry in communism when there is injustice." Similarly, NC senior leader Ram Chandra Paudel while addressing an election rally at the Rainas Municipality in Lamjung District on November 20, 2017, stated, “Communists exercising in multi party system are trying to forge consensus to push the country toward anarchism, to stop the nation from being ruled by autocratic rules, the democratic forces should emerge victorious to safeguard democracy in the nation (sic).”

Despite sporadic disruptions at election rallies and around election candidates, with the completion of these elections, Nepal will have embarked on a new political course. The tortuous transition toward democratic consolidation in a federal structure and the building up of new institutions must need to be understood as deep deficits to be addressed in politics and the rule of law. The overriding hope is that these elections will move Nepal out of a protracted post-conflict transition into a period of stabilization. Amidst these hopes and fears, a general atmosphere of uncertainty persists, and much remains to be done.


NEWS BRIEFS

Weekly Fatalities: Major Conflicts in South Asia
November 27-December 3, 2017

 

Civilians

Security Force Personnel

Terrorists/Insurgents

Total

BANGLADESH

 

Islamist Terrorism

0
3
3
3

Left-wing Extremism

0
0
1
1

BANGLADESH (Total)

0
0
4
4

INDIA

 

Jammu and Kashmir

0
0
5
5

Assam

0
0
1
1

Left-Wing Extremism

 

Chhattisgarh

1
0
0
1

Jharkhand

1
0
0
1

Maharashtra

0
1
0
1

INDIA (Total)

2
1
6
9

PAKISTAN

 

Balochistan

1
2
0
3

FATA

6
1
4
11

ICT

1
1
0
2

KP

9
0
4
13

Punjab

0
1
5
6

Sindh

3
0
0
3

PAKISTAN (Total)

20
5
13
38
Provisional data compiled from English language media sources.

INDIA

Around 100 Indians joined Islamic State, say sources': As per the latest intelligence inputs, around 100 Indians have joined Islamic State (IS)-controlled regions in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan since 2014. While 50 Indians left India, the remaining 50 were part of Indian Diaspora who left from their respective countries, mostly from the Gulf countries. These low numbers depicts that IS propaganda to lure Indian Muslims has failed to an extent, as the numbers are very low in proportion to the large Indian population and also in comparison to the percentage of large Indian Muslim community, said an unnamed official of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (UMHA). Times of India, November 28, 2017. 

Over 200 terrorists eliminated in Kashmir this year, says Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh: Union Home Minister (UHM) Rajnath Singh, on December 1, said the Security Forces (SFs) have eliminated over 200 terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir this year. UHM Singh further said, "What has happened to our neighbouring country Pakistan...Every day they are doing some mischief or the other, but you would have seen that the morale of our security forces is high, they are ferreting out and eliminating two, four, five, six or seven terrorists every day. The month of December is yet to pass, but we have already gotten rid of more than 200 terrorists (during 2017)." Times of India, November 22, 2017.

More than 12,000 cybercrime incidents were reported in 2016, says NCRB report: According to the recent data released by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), out of 12,317 cybercrime incidents that were reported in 2016, in only 30 per cent the Police or concerned investigation agency filed a charge sheet. There were 40 cases that were done with a "political" motive and 14 cases pertained to sale and purchase of illegal drugs. As per the data, 149 cases were registered for 'inciting crimes against a community' and three cases were of 'inciting hate crimes against the country'.  The Hindu, December 1, 2017. 

No let-up in operations in Kashmir, militants will be targeted and killed; says Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman: Defence Minister (DM), Nirmala Sitharaman, on December 1, said that people of Kashmir have completely rejected terrorism as she declared that there will be no let up in "anti-militancy operations" in the Valley and the terrorists, who don't surrender, "will be identified, targeted and eliminated" by the Security Forces (SFs). At the same time, she said, there will be a lenient approach towards the militants, who want to surrender and join the national mainstream. She also charged that Pakistan hasn't stopped "entertaining and facilitating" terrorism and even the "non-state actors" continued to create trouble by preparing militants and pushing them to this side to create trouble. Daily Excelsior, December 2, 2017.

Centre asks State Governments to strengthen Police Forces: The Centre has told the State Governments to strengthen their own Police machinery in terms of number of personnel as well as modernisation to reduce dependence on Central Para-military Forces (CPMF) in Left-wing extremism (LWE)-affected areas, North-East, Jammu and Kashmir and in eventualities related to terrorism. An unnmaed senior official said, "The Centre feels that there is a limitation to the efficacy of Central Paramilitary Forces in these areas and as such the state forces need to take the lead role in tackling these problems." The Indian Express, December 4, 2017.


NEPAL

Communism will destroy democracy, says Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba: Prime Minister and Nepali Congress (NC)