Religion-based terrorism, extremism on the rise in 2021

The yearly report of the authoritative Pak Institute for Peace Studies recommended urgent action by the Parliament.

By Marco Respinti


Bitter Winter (13.01.2022) – – On January 5, 2022, the Pak Institute for Peace Studies (PICS), a leading Pakistani think tank including prominent academics and journalists, released its yearly report on security for the year 2021.

The section on terrorism noted that ethno-nationalist and religiously motivated terrorist attacks increased by 42% in 2021 with respect to 2020, and the number of victims increased by 52%, the worst such surge in the last 15 years.

207 attacks took 335 lives, and left another 555 wounded. The surge is mostly due to “religiously inspired militant groups,” the report says, singling out “Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), local Taliban groups, and Islamic State Khorasan (IS-K)” as the worst perpetrators. The developments in Afghanistan also made the situation in Pakistan worse.

More generally, as discussed in a press conference on January 5, violent religious extremist groups are at work in all provinces in Pakistan. The PICS noted in particular the activities of Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan, a large Sufi but violent organization to which Bitter Winter devoted a series of articles.

Against the “growing incidents of faith-based mob violence,” targeting in particular religious minorities harassed by different violent Islamic laws, the PICS believes that existing laws are not sufficient. It urged the Parliament to take action, enact new laws, and use the National Action Plan (NAP) as a tool against religious extremism and violence.

The PICS also recommended to strengthen the National Counter-Terrorism Authority (NACTA).

Photo : Evolution of terrorist attacks in Pakistan, 2009–2021. Source: PIPS Pakistan Security Report 2021.


Marco Respinti is the Editor-in-Chief of International Family News. He is an Italian professional journalist, member of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), essayist, translator, and lecturer. He has contributed and contributes to several journals and magazines both in print and online, both in Italy and abroad. Author of books, he has translated and/or edited works by, among others, Edmund Burke, Charles Dickens, T.S. Eliot, Russell Kirk, J.R.R. Tolkien, Régine Pernoud and Gustave Thibon. A Senior fellow at the Russell Kirk Center for Cultural Renewal, a non-partisan, non-profit U.S. educational organization based in Mecosta, Michigan, he is also a founding member as well as Board member of the Center for European Renewal, a non-profit, non-partisan pan-European educational organization based in The Hague, The Netherlands, and a member of the Advisory Council of the European Federation for Freedom of Belief. He serves as Director-in-Charge of the academic publication The Journal of CESNUR and Bitter Winter: A Magazine on Religious Liberty and Human Rights.

Further reading about FORB in Pakistan on HRWF website