By Jamil Bhatti
ISLAMABAD, (Xinhua): At least 1,532 people were killed and 4,094 others injured in 324 bomb attacks including 39 suicide ones that ripped through Pakistan during 2013, according to official and local media statistics.
According to the data, the 39 suicide attacks killed 764 people while injuring 1,612 others in various areas of the country last year.
Terrorists conducted 26 suicide attacks during the first six months of the year, one in January, four in February, six in March, six in April, four in May and five in June, which killed 517 people besides injuring 965 others.
As the militants conducted a series of lethal and huge attacks, the number of total casualties in 2013 rose around 53 percent from the previous year, when 1,007 were killed in 395 bomb attacks.
The year 2013 also appeared as the second worst hit year in the history of Pakistan so far after 2010 when 1,547 people were killed in bomb attacks.
In particular, Pakistan’s general election month of May was the worst hit period last year by the number of attacks, when militants escalated bomb attacks at rallies and offices of political parties across the country and killed at least 161 people besides leaving 652 others injured in 56 attacks.
In terms of the number of deaths, the first month of 2013 was the darkest when 199 people lost their lives and 380 others sustained wounds in 16 attacks.
The two most horrible attacks of the year occurred in the country’s southwestern provincial capital of Quetta. Targeting the areas dominated by Hazara community of Shia Muslims, they caused a huge loss of life and property.
The first attack took place on Jan. 10 when twin blasts, a suicide attack followed by a terrible car bomb attack, shattered a crowded snooker club, adjacent shops and houses in Quetta, killing at least 106 people including nine policemen and 20 rescue workers.
The second worst incident happened during the second month of the year, on Feb. 16 in the same city, when a suicide bomber exploded his water-tanker-bomb carrying some 1,000 kg of explosives in a busy vegetable market and killed 89 civilians besides injuring over 170 others.
In another terrorist attack, on Sept. 22, two suicide bombers stormed a Christian church in the country’s northwest provincial capital of Peshawar and killed 85 people while leaving 145 others injured. The suicide bombers blew up their explosive-laden jackets inside the church when around 600 people were leaving the premises after finishing their weekly Sunday prayers.
On Aug. 8, a suicide bomber of Pakistani Taliban attacked a mosque located in the Police Lines in Quetta where hundreds of policemen and civilians assembled to attend the funeral of their colleague, killing 39 including 16 policemen and five police officers.
On July 26, a suicide bomber attacked people near a mosque in the northwestern tribal region of Kurram Agency followed by a remote controlled bomb explosion in the same area, killing 57 and injuring 187 others collectively.
On March 2, at least 50 people lost their lives and 137 others sustained injuries in a car bomb blast that ripped through a residential area in the country’s southern port city of Karachi.
The statistics showed that terrorists carried out 324 bomb attacks at 317 targets, killing 1,330 civilians as well as 127 personnel from security forces and 75 policemen in 261, 37 and 26 direct attacks, respectively.
Besides security forces and police, some politicians also came under direct attacks.
On Oct. 16, a suicide bomber killed a provincial law minister of northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa along with 10 others when he was receiving Eid-greetings at his house in district of Dera Ismael Khan.
A lawmaker of the same province also lost his life in an attack on June 18 in a suicide attack during a funeral in northwestern Mardan district. At least 36 people including the lawmaker were killed in the attack and 57 others sustained injuries.
The militant groups also used suicide bombers against their rival groups to establish their dominion and to capture the areas under the control of their opponents.
On March 19, two suicide bombers targeted a center of Ansar-ul- Islam, a banned militant organization and a rival of Pakistani Taliban, and killed 48 people in Tirah Valley of Khyber Agency, a northwestern tribal region bordering Afghanistan.
In terms of the number of explosions, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province was the worst hit among all regions with 96 bomb attacks, followed by the northwestern restive tribal regions bordering Afghanistan, Balochistan, Sindh and Punjab provinces, with 82, 79, 63 and four incidents, respectively.
A majority of the bomb blasts were triggered with remote control devices that were planted in vehicles or on the roadsides.
Pakistani Taliban, who threatened to speed up their attacks on the security personnel and public rallies of political parties, claimed responsibility for the most of the incidents, especially the major ones.