Rising Security Threats in Pakistan

Rising Security Threats in Pakistan

Increasing internal violence and political instability in Pakistan


Pakistan faces significant threats to its internal security from the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, and other militant groups. After former TTP leader Hakimullah Mehsud was killed in a U.S. drone strike in November 2013, its new chief, hardliner Mullah Fazlullah, pledged to intensify terror attacks against Islamabad. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s efforts to negotiate a peace agreement with militants unravelled in spring 2014, when the TTP called off a ceasefire instituted just six weeks prior. Following a June 2014 terror attack on Karachi’s airport that left over thirty dead, the government launched an offensive against militant strongholds in North Waziristan. Before the operation began, U.S. drone strikes against militants in North Waziristan resumed after a nearly six-month-long hiatus.

Historically dominant over the civilian government, the Pakistani military provides support to the Haqqani network and other proxy groups, even though state-sponsored militants often collaborate with the anti-state TTP. The withdrawal of U.S. and allied forces from Afghanistan after 2014 could increase instability by allowing antistate militants from Pakistan to establish a safe haven in a fragile Afghanistan. In addition, anti-Shia violence, led by Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (formerly Sipah-e-Sahaba, or SSP) persists, particularly in the Sindh province.

Acute instability in Pakistan has security implications for both Afghanistan and India. The TTP is closely allied with the Afghan Taliban  in its battle against Afghan and NATO troops, while India fears terrorist attacks carried out by both anti-state and state-sponsored Pakistani militants. Moreover, the vulnerability of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal to attack or theft by nonstate actors remains a major concern for U.S. and Indian policymakers.



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