While Pakistani authorities boast about having defeated terrorism, terror attacks continued to take place in the country in the year 2021. Amidst the lingering pandemic, Pakistan was the unfortunate site of several deadly terrorist attacks throughout the outgoing year.
Killing of Hazara-Shia coal miners in Balochistan
A group of Islamic State militants kidnapped and then killed 11 Hazara coal miners in Machh, Balochistan. The attacks led to widespread demonstrations across the country, particularly aimed at the perceived inaction of the government. Although he initially refused to meet with the miners’ families, Prime Minister Imran Khan did ultimately arrive in Quetta following the funerals. His statement terming the Hazara protestors ‘blackmailers’ for demanding his visit had sparked a backlash.
Blasts in Chaman claims 10 lives
Two deadly bombings occurred in Chaman, Balochistan, killing 10 people and injuring a further 27 individuals. The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.
Quetta’s Serena Hotel attacked
The Tehreek-e-Taliban (TTP) drove a car laden with explosives into the parking lot of the Serene Hotel, Quetta, killing five and injuring 12 people in the suicide attack. The primary target of the bombing was believed to be the Chinese ambassador to Pakistan, who was visiting Quetta but not staying at the hotel at the time of the attack.
Blast in Lahore’s Johar Town area
A car with 30kg of explosives detonated on a quiet residential street of Johar Town in Lahore, killing four and injuring at least 20 more. The attack was thought to have targeted Co-founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba Hafiz Saeed. Government officials believed the Indian secret service was involved in the attack.
Chinese nationals’ killings in Kohistan
13 people, including nine Chinese nationals and two personnel of the Frontier Constabulary, were killed when their bus fell into a ravine in Upper Kohistan. Another 28 people were injured. Witnesses claim they saw a bomb blast right before the buses’ fall, although authorities originally claimed the incident was an accident.
Grenade attack in Karachi
Six women and three children died when a grenade hit their bus following Independence Day celebrations. All casualties were members of the same extended family, belonging to Awami National Party (AWP) leader Farman Ali. The culprits have never been identified, although officials contend it was an act of terrorism.
Chinese workers attacked in Gwadar
A suicide attack on the Gwadar expressway targeted a convoy of Chinese workers, injuring one Chinese national and killing two Pakistani children. The attack was claimed by the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA).
April and October violence by the TLP
In October, members of the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) clashed with policemen, killing four in their protest against the imprisonment of the movement’s leader, Saad Rizvi. Over 250 people were injured in the conflict. Four cops were killed by TLP rioters.
These acts of terror contributed to the general unease and uncertainty many Pakistanis felt throughout the year. Although some took loudly to the streets in protest, the justice system’s response remained at a whimper. Perhaps most lamentable is the lack of justice the Pakistani establishment has offered the victims by years end.
Earlier in April, the TLP began protesting over the same matter. The rioters killed and tortured policemen and wreaked havoc on the streets. 6 policemen were killed in the April clashes with the TLP.
The government had initially vowed to act TLP like a militant organisation, but later capitulated to the rioters and ended up signing yet another agreement with them. The TLP has now been unbanned by the government, and efforts are underway to ‘mainstream’ the group.
Note: This is a non-exhaustive list.