Pakistan’s conflict landscape remains volatile and complex, although recent trends are generally positive. The overall number of violent incidents fell by roughly 13 percent from 2018 to 2019, and fatalities fell by 32 percent in the same period. This change is a continuation of a downward trend over the past decade as Pakistan has reduced the pervasiveness of both terrorist and sectarian violence in the country.
In 2019, Pakistan saw 433 incidents that killed 588 people and injured 1,030 in various forms of violence related to politics and elections, terrorist attacks, security operations against terrorist groups and armed insurgents, ethno-political tensions, sectarian cleavages, and cross-border clashes. International terror involving ISIS and other groups remains a major security risk. The areas that today comprise the new province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have been the most affected by terrorist attacks, accounting for 48 percent of all attacks and 32 percent of deaths from terrorism.
Sectarian violence and tensions remain high throughout Pakistan, with minority groups such as the Hazara, Ismaili, Ahmadis, and Christians most commonly targeted. Separatism in Balochistan remains a threat to stability, given increased attacks and concerns over the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor deal. In June 2020, members of the Baloch Liberation Army, a nonstate armed group, claimed responsibility for an attack on the Pakistan Stock Exchange in Karachi. Four armed gunmen killed two guards and a policeman before being killed by security officers.
Pakistan has looked to improve regional relationships and played a role in facilitating dialogue within Afghanistan. Relations with India have remained tense, leading to clashes in 2019. New initiatives in Pakistan to combat gender-based violence have included the establishment of over a thousand courts designated to address the problem throughout Pakistan and the launching of a helpline application by the Ministry of Human Rights.