Pakistan. A wave of bombings shook Pakistan at the
beginning of the year, in the first month of which an
explosion in a market in the city of Parachinar took the
lives of 20 people. In February, 14 people were killed and
over 80 injured when a bomb exploded among a group of
demonstrating pharmacists in the country's second largest
city of Lahore. Just a few days later, close to 90 people
died and hundreds were injured in a suicide attack targeting
a Sufic sanctuary in the city of Sehwan in Sind Province.
Countryaah.com, the attack, taken by the terrorist group IS, was one of the
deadliest in Pakistan in recent years.
Following the terrorist attacks, two major border
crossings against Afghanistan were closed in February.
However, these were reopened in March. At the same time, the
country's army stated that it has begun to build a fence
along the border with Afghanistan in an effort to fight
In March, a census was started with a view to getting a
better picture of the country's minority groups. The census,
which was carried out only a year before the parliamentary
elections, had a political charge and was subjected to
several deadly attacks. For example, in April at least ten
people died of a bombing aimed at "the country's Shiite
Muslim minority," according to a Taliban group that took the
attack. The group claimed that the attack was also directed
at the country's ongoing census.
A truck accident caused more than 200 people's deaths in
June. The accident happened after the truck, full of fuel,
overturned on a highway in central Pakistan. From the car,
gasoline ran out and people rushed to get it right. But
someone in the crowd lit a cigarette and a fire broke out,
followed by a violent explosion. The explosion, in turn, set
fire to a dozen cars and motorcycles.
According to OGRA, which is responsible for oil and gas
regulations, Shell Pakistan was responsible for the
accident, which according to the authority was caused by
poor driving and vehicle failure. Thousands of mourners came
to the funerals.
In the same month, at least 85 people were killed and
more than 200 were injured in two bomb attacks during the
same day in the cities of Parachinar and Quetta in the
western part of Pakistan. Two different Sunni extremist
groups claimed to be behind the attacks.
In July, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was forced to resign
after the Supreme Court declared him unfit for office. The
decision was made following a lengthy corruption
investigation with links to the leaked Panama documents in
which Sharif's children appeared. According to the
investigation, the children had, among other things, luxury
properties in London that the family could not account for.
Sharif defended herself by buying the apartments legally,
but critics said Sharif had used her political stance to
increase family wealth. Finance Minister Ishaq Dar was also
banned by the court from holding a public job and left his
ministerial post in November, according to Reuters news
agency. Former Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi was
elected as new Prime Minister in August.
In October, a court issued an arrest warrant against
Nawaz Sharif, who was charged with two cases of corruption.
Sharif dismissed the charges as a conspiracy. The
indictment, which also included Sharif's daughter and her
husband, came after an investigation by the Pakistan
Anti-Corruption Agency (NAB).
A court in Islamabad in November ordered the authorities
to disperse upwards of 2,000 protesters who, for over two
weeks, blocked a highway between Islamabad and the
neighboring city of Rawalpindi. The protesters were
supporters of a radical Islamist group called
Tehrik-e-Labaik Pakistan (TLP). Islamists demanded the
resignation of Justice Minister Zahid Hamid after the PML-N
leading party voted in favor of a proposal by the minister
to soften the blasphemy laws. The proposal was quickly
withdrawn by the government, which apologized to Parliament
and said it was all a mistake. Despite the retreat, the
Pakistan was hit the same month by a thick smog that
settled like a cover over parts of the country. At the same
time, media stated that the pollutants in Pakistan, which
are among the worst in the world, take more lives than
terrorism does. According to global statistics from IHME
(Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation), 159,000
Pakistanis were estimated to die prematurely per year due to
smog and similar pollution.