Remembering The Victims Of Terrorism In Pakistan – OpEd


On August 21st each year, the international community comes together to commemorate the victims of terrorism and pay tribute to their resilience on the United Nations’ International Day of Remembrance of and Tribute to the Victims of Terrorism.

This solemn day serves as a reminder that terrorism knows no boundaries, impacting lives across the globe. Pakistan, in particular, has faced a surge in terrorism activities post-9/11, causing significant losses to both its people and government. Additionally, the case of Kulbhushan Yadav, an Indian spy, has highlighted claims of Indian involvement in acts of terrorism in Balochistan.

The September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States marked a turning point in global security dynamics, leading to a heightened focus on combating terrorism. Pakistan, a front-line state in the fight against terrorism due to its geographical proximity to Afghanistan, faced a significant surge in terrorism activities in the aftermath of 9/11. The influx of extremist groups, the rise of the Taliban, and the increased cross-border movement of militants posed immense challenges to Pakistan’s security apparatus.

The impact of terrorism on Pakistan has been staggering. Between 2001 and 2019, the Global Terrorism Database recorded over 22,000 terrorist incidents in Pakistan, resulting in more than 83,000 deaths and countless injuries. The attacks targeted various regions, including marketplaces, educational institutions, religious places, and security installations, leaving no segment of society untouched.

Economically, the losses have been substantial. The World Bank estimated that terrorism and extremism cost Pakistan over $118 billion from 2002 to 2016, equivalent to almost 10% of its GDP. The constant security challenges hindered foreign investment, tourism, and economic growth, exacerbating the country’s socio-economic woes.

The case of Kulbhushan Yadav, a senior Indian Naval Officer arrested by Pakistani authorities in 2016, brought to light allegations of foreign involvement in acts of terrorism in Balochistan. Yadav was an operative of India’s Intelligence agency, Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), and had confessed to orchestrating subversive activities in Balochistan.

Yadav’s arrest and subsequent trial raised diplomatic tensions between India and Pakistan. While India denied the allegations, Pakistan maintained that Yadav’s confession provided evidence of foreign interference in its internal affairs. This case was a textbook example of how state sponsored terrorism is used to undermine the potential of another state and a testament to the involvement of India in destabilizing Pakistan.

As the world commemorates the UN’s International Day of Remembrance of and Tribute to the Victims of Terrorism on August 21st, it is essential to reflect on the far-reaching consequences of acts of terror. Pakistan’s experience post-9/11 demonstrates the devastating impact terrorism can have on a nation’s people, economy, and security. The case of Kulbhushan Yadav underscores the need for international collaboration to address the intricate nature of state sponsored terrorism. On this day, let us honor the victims and renew our commitment to building a world free from the scourge of terrorism.

Fatima Saleem

Fatima Saleem is an Islamabad based political analyst.

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