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Country Reports
Pakistan, Landmine Monitor Report 2003


Key developments since May 2002: Pakistan states that it has cleared most of the minefields it laid following the December 2001 escalation of tensions with India. Landmine incidents in border areas with India and Afghanistan continue to be reported. In 2002, there were 111 reported landmine casualties, including 25 children. Tribesmen have used antivehicle mines in Baluchistan and Punjab. In January 2003, an NGO launched a pilot mine clearance project in the Bajaur Agency.

Mine Ban Policy

Pakistan has not acceded to the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty. In October 2002, Pakistan said that its “position on the question of anti-personnel landmines is determined by legitimate security concerns. Given our security compulsions and the need to guard our long borders not protected by any natural obstacle, the use of landmines forms a natural part of our self-defence strategy. As such, it is not possible for Pakistan to agree to the demands for the complete prohibition of anti-personnel landmines till such time that viable alternatives are available.... We remain committed to ensuring the highest standards of responsibility in the use of these defensive weapons.”[1]

As in previous years, Pakistan abstained from voting on the November 2002 pro-Mine Ban Treaty UN General Assembly Resolution. Pakistan did not attend the Fourth Meeting of States Parties in September 2002 and did not participate in the intersessional Standing Committee meetings in February and May 2003.

Pakistan participated in the Fourth Annual Conference on Amended Protocol II to the Convention on Conventional Weapons in December 2002 and submitted its annual report required by Article 13 of Amended Protocol II. At the Conference Pakistan stated, “Amended Protocol II seeks to strike the right balance between the legitimate security requirements of the States Parties and humanitarian concerns.”[2] Pakistan called for expanded and strengthened mine clearance and victim assistance programs, as well as research into viable landmine alternatives “with a view to advancing the goal of an eventual universal ban on landmines.” Pakistan also expressed appreciation for “the positive role played by the ICRC, the ICBL and other Non-Governmental Organizations in responding to mine related emergencies.”[3]

Production, Transfer and Stockpiling

Pakistan is a producer of antipersonnel mines. State-owned Pakistan Ordnance Factories (POF), founded in 1951, in the past produced six types of antipersonnel mines.[4] Pakistan has stated that after January 1997 it started production of new detectable versions of the P2MK2 and P4MK2 hand-emplaced mines, and that it is producing new remotely-delivered antipersonnel mines with self-destruct and self-deactivating mechanisms.[5] In its 2002 Article 13 report, Pakistan reiterates that all technical requirements of Amended Protocol II “have been appropriately included at the development, production and user levels.”[6]

According to Statutory Regulatory Order No. 123 (1) dated 25 February 1999, Pakistan has totally banned the export of antipersonnel landmines. Last year, Landmine Monitor reported an alleged attempt by POF to sell antipersonnel mines to a British journalist posing as a representative of a private company.[7] The Pakistan Campaign to Ban Landmines (PCBL) sent a formal request for clarification to the Army General Headquarters along with a Landmine Monitor questionnaire on 5 March 2003. PCBL received a letter of acknowledgement on 10 March 2003, but there has been no further response as of June 2003.

There is no official information on the size of Pakistan’s stockpile. Since 2000, Landmine Monitor has estimated that Pakistan holds at least six million antipersonnel mines in stockpile, based on information provided by a senior Pakistani official.[8] This constitutes the fifth largest stockpile in the world. The government has neither confirmed nor denied the number. It is not known how many mines from that stockpile were deployed on the border with India in December 2001 and 2002.

Pakistan is modifying its existing stock of low-metal-content antipersonnel mines to make them conform to the detectability requirement of Amended Protocol II.[9] Pakistan opted to utilize the nine-year deferral period available under Amended Protocol II, meaning that conversion must be completed within nine years of entry into force (by 3 December 2007).


Following the December 2001 attack on the Indian Parliament and the escalation of tensions with India, Pakistan laid mines along its border with India. The government has been reluctant to acknowledge the mine-laying at all, and has provided virtually no details. Pakistan’s Amended Protocol II reports for 2001 and 2002 make no mention of the major mine-laying operations or subsequent clearance activities.

In a March 2003 letter to the PCBL, the Director General of the Strategic Plans Division of the Joint Staff Headquarters stated, “During the recent escalation between India and Pakistan, both sides laid landmines for defensive purposes. Pak Army took all necessary measures and followed standing operating procedures for laying and marking the minefields. However, some minor incidents have been reported involving civilians living in the area.”[10]

In a July 2003 letter to Landmine Monitor, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs states, “The massive military escalation and troops deployment by India along our borders last year obliged Pakistan to take measures for self-defence. All defensive minefields have either been cleared or in the process of being completely demined. Please note that all measures were taken strictly in accordance with our commitments and in line with our national legal obligations precluding any problems for civilian population.”[11]

At the Fourth Annual Conference of States Parties to the CCW Amended Protocol II, Pakistan stated, “Pakistan enjoys a unique record of clearing all minefields after the three wars in South Asia [in 1947, 1965, and 1971]. There has never been a humanitarian situation caused by the use of these mines. We remain committed to ensuring that the mines in our military inventory will never become a cause for civilian casualties in Pakistan or anywhere else.”[12]

However, landmine incidents continued to be reported in 2002 and 2003. For example, on 10 April 2003, in an area bordering on India, a young man stepped on an antipersonnel mine in a field. His left foot was amputated.[13]

Pakistan acknowledges that it maintains permanent minefields along certain portions of the Line of Control in Kashmir, which it claims are properly marked and fenced as required by Amended Protocol II.

Pakistan’s 2002 Article 13 report assumes ongoing use: “In view of the likelihood of employment of minefields in a future military conflict efforts are being made to disseminate the technical know how and the concept behind this Protocol to all concerned military/civilian personnel.”[14]

There are unconfirmed reports that Rangers or Pakistani Border Security Forces laid landmines in the border area between Pakistan and Iran in order to control the illegal import of petrol and other goods from Iran to Pakistan. In an incident in December 2002, five people were killed when their vehicle hit a landmine.[15] An official in Pakistan’s Kech district told a press agency that the incident occurred on the Iranian side of the border and that the Iranian authorities laid landmines to discourage drug traffickers.[16]

Landmines have been used in tribal conflict. Following the sabotage of a gas pipeline in the tribal war in Baluchistan, tribesmen laid landmines (apparently antivehicle mines only) in the area to hinder government operations. In the area of Chamalaang, Baluchistan an army vehicle hit an antivehicle mine, killing one Colonel and injuring four persons including two captains.[17] In another incident on 1 March, a Pakistani paramilitary soldier was killed and seven of his colleagues were injured when their vehicle drove over a landmine in a remote area of Punjab. The rangers were guarding a gas pipeline.[18] Similar incidents have been reported in March and April 2003 in Punjab and Baluchistan.[19] There is no information on how the tribesmen obtained these landmines.

Landmine Problem

In its 2002 Article 13 report, Pakistan reiterated that it “is not a mine-afflicted country. There are no problems of un-cleared mines. Therefore, there were no casualties.”[20] It admitted that “certain problems are faced in the areas bordering on Afghanistan.... However, this problem is also being addressed.”[21]

In August 2002 a group of farmers in eastern Pakistan protested to demand the removal of landmines laid in their fields by the Pakistan Army.[22]

The Director General of the Strategic Plans Division has noted, “due to the peculiar nature of terrain especially in the Sialkot and Ferozepur sectors, some mines have tended to drift with the flow of seasonal nullahs especially as a result of heavy rains, which sometimes causes some damage to human beings and livestock as well.” The Director General concluded that “the casualties related to the landmine are negligible along the Indo-Pak border and do not warrant a special attention....”[23]

In 2002 and 2003 landmine incidents continued to occur in the border areas of both Afghanistan and India. PCBL recorded 108 new landmine causalities in its 2002 database.[24] The extent of the landmine problem and the total number of landmine casualties is not fully known due to the lack of adequate reporting structures. The Community Motivation and Development Organization (CMDO) has interviewed 726 landmine victims or relatives of victims since August 2000. The presence of landmines mainly affects activities such as farming, grazing, and collecting firewood.[25]

The most serious landmine problem is in the Federally Administrated Tribal Area (FATA) of Pakistan as a result of the Soviet war in Afghanistan in the 1980s. Of the seven tribal Agencies that make up the FATA, Bajaur and Kurram are the most affected and have reported an alarming number of casualties. Landmines are widely scattered in these areas and have caused casualties in fields, on paths, and on tracks leading to schools and irrigation channels.

Mine Clearance and Assistance

Pakistan began clearance operations after the October 2002 withdrawal of Pakistani and Indian troops from the border areas. In March 2003, the Director General of the Strategic Plans Division stated, “After de-escalation, most of these carefully mapped minefields have been removed by the Army.”[26] In July 2003, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated, “All defensive minefields have either been cleared or in the process of being completely demined.... Our record of mine clearance, therefore, remains unblemished.”[27] The Engineer Corps of the Pakistan Army is responsible for the use and clearance of landmines.[28] Details regarding Army clearance procedures are not available.

Pakistan reported in October 2002 that it continues to participate in mine clearance and rehabilitation programs at the international level and that a Demining Task Force was to be sent to Lebanon.[29] The Lebanese National Demining Office told Landmine Monitor on 30 June 2003 that the Pakistanis would arrive soon and that the Lebanese government would host their stay at a cost of US$2 million.[30]

In January 2003, CMDO launched a pilot mine clearance project in the Bar Gabaray village in Bajaur Agency with the support of the Japan-based Association for Aid and Relief (AAR). This location was chosen because of the number of casualties reported. In the first three months a team of three mine experts checked 707 square meters of agricultural land.

According to the data collected by the PCBL and CMDO, no mine clearance operations have been conducted in the Federally Administrated Tribal Area. In a few cases, local people have bought mine detectors at their own expense and checked paths and places suspected of mine contamination, even if they have no specific mine clearance skills. According to a CMDO household survey, when local people see a landmine, 50 percent use a weapon to explode it, 26 percent throw stones at it, and 15 percent set it on fire.

Mine Risk Education

Pakistan has stated, “Civilians residing in mine affected areas have been educated with regard to mines, minefields and the safety precautions to be taken if they enter a mined area.”[31]

CMDO has continued to provide Mine Risk Education (MRE) for the local population in the Bajaur Agency. In 2002, CMDO trained 20,795 participants: 7,767 were trained in 55 schools; 9,815 in 198 public places; and 3,213 in 47 mosques. Since August 2000, CMDO Mine Awareness Teams have reached 76,290 community members. The target for 2003 is to provide MRE to 54,392 people in the Kurram Agency.

CMDO field teams have trained 812 volunteers in safe behavior regarding mines and UXO, as well as first aid. This network of volunteers reinforces and spreads the message given in formal training sessions. CMDO teams use wooden mine and UXO models for demonstration and posters. CMDO has targeted children for their ability to spread the MRE message, especially to women that CMDO cannot approach directly due to cultural barriers.

Information collected by CMDO’s MRE program is incorporated in its various reports and shared with relevant organizations. The program is financed by the Swiss Foundation for Landmine Victim Aid (SFLVA), which provides $10,500 to the CMDO annually.

In 2002, Handicap International Belgium provided MRE in eight Afghan refugee camps in Baluchistan. A total of 243,719 Afghan refugees received MRE and 414 Afghan refugees were trained as volunteer MRE trainers, who are expected to provide MRE not only in the refugee camps, but also on their return to Afghanistan. An internal evaluation report conducted in November 2002 concluded that all trained refugees were aware of the MRE message and safety practices.[32]

Landmine Casualties

In 2002, the PCBL recorded 111 new landmine and UXO casualties in Pakistan: 58 people were killed, and 53 were injured. Casualties included 25 children. Twelve people required an amputation.[33] The PCBL database for 2002 includes at least 13 casualties that occurred in regions on the border with India. In addition to the 111 casualties, in three separate incidents in January 2002, 25 Pakistani soldiers were killed and several injured by landmines in the Pakistan/India border area.[34] Also, five Pakistani nationals were killed in Iran, near the border with Pakistan, in December 2002 after their vehicle hit a landmine.[35]

In 2001, 92 new casualties were recorded by the PCBL.[36]

Casualties continue to be reported in 2003. In Baluchistan, in February, an army vehicle hit an antivehicle mine, killing one and injuring four others;[37] in March, a Pakistani paramilitary soldier was killed and seven of his colleagues injured when their vehicle drove over a landmine in a remote area of Punjab;[38] similar incidents have been reported in March and April in Punjab and Baluchistan;[39] and in April, a young man stepped on an antipersonnel mine in a field near the border with India and lost his foot.[40]

Since September 1997, the PCBL has been collecting data on landmine/UXO casualties from various sources, including newspapers, Tribal Agency Headquarter Hospitals, the Social Welfare & Rehabilitation Center for the Disabled, the CMDO database on the Bajaur tribal area, and team visits to mine-affected areas. It has identified 1,038 landmine/UXO casualties since the first landmine casualty appeared in 1980 following the outbreak of the Afghan war.

There is no other comprehensive reporting system available in the country and therefore a large number of casualties are likely to remain unreported.

Of the 1,038 recorded mine casualties in the PCBL database, 71 percent are male and 29 percent female. In the Federally Administered Tribal Areas alone there have been 915 casualties reported. The highest number of landmine casualties was reported in the Bajaur Agency of the FATA where the CMDO has established a data collection system. Of the 915 landmine/UXO casualties in the FATA, 726 were reported in the Bajaur Agency: 288 were killed, 339 required an amputation, and 99 reported other injuries; 67 percent were male and 33 percent female. Mamund Tehsil (a sub-division) is the worst affected area in the Bajaur Agency with 507 reported casualties: 235 people killed, 207 requiring an amputation, and 65 with other injuries. The high percentage of deaths and amputations is reportedly due to the fact that there are no effective first aid, transport or health facilities in these areas.[41]

Survivor Assistance

There are no specialized medical, surgical or first aid facilities for landmine casualties close to the mine-affected areas. Casualties are transferred to hospitals in large cities mostly by private vehicles or, in some cases, by ambulances. Civilians must cover the costs of medicines, treatment, and transport. Military personnel have access to separate services free of charge in Combined Military Hospitals (CMH). Afghan mine survivors residing in Pakistan also use the Pakistani medical infrastructure, which adds an additional strain in an already overpopulated country.

In Bajaur Agency, the district hospital is only capable of providing basic first aid, and in some cases there is a problem arranging transport for the mine casualty.[42] In 2002, the Rescue Operation of Islamic Relief UK and the Mines Advisory Group, with funding provided by OXFAM, each provided the CMDO with two ambulances for the Banjur and Kurram agencies to enhance the existing CMDO ambulance service and facilitate free and fast transport for mine casualties to a fully equipped medical center with proper first aid, treatment and surgical facilities. The Swiss Foundation for Landmine Victim’s Aid provided $17,000 for the evacuation service.

There are no rehabilitation programs for landmine survivors supported by the government in the mine-affected areas. Prosthetic facilities are available, but mine survivors generally have to cover the costs, and many do not have adequate resources. A few organizations working for persons with disabilities in Pakistan provide locally manufactured limbs to landmine survivors.

The CMDO, with the financial support from the SFLVA, continues to provide support for physical rehabilitation services to four landmine survivors a month.[43] From June 2001 to May 2003, 64 landmine survivors were rehabilitated under this program; most were children under 15 years old; 40 were assisted in 2002.

The local NGO, Association for the Rehabilitation of the Physically Disabled, which is supported by Action for Disability UK, provides prosthetics, rehabilitation and vocational training in ten different trades, for people with a physical disability, including landmine survivors, mainly in the Afghan border areas. In 2002, 988 people were assisted, of which 635 were landmine survivors. In addition, 902 prostheses and other assistive devices were produced. Two new centers were opened in Kashmir. The program is funded by the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund.[44]

The Baluchistan Community Rehabilitation program supports disabled Afghan refugees in camps in Baluchistan Province. Mercy Corps Scotland, together with the Christian Hospital Quetta, operate an orthopedic workshop at the hospital that assists over 800 disabled Afghan refugees each month and another 200 every month at three refugee camps. The workshop fits artificial limbs for adults and children and provides training in physiotherapy for their families; many are landmine survivors. Medical teams also visit the refugee villages to provide medical care and physiotherapy. The program is funded by the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund.[45]

From July to December 2002, Handicap International Belgium provided physiotherapy and other rehabilitation services in three Afghan refugee camps (Charman, Mohammad Khail and Loralai): 4,183 people received over 8,944 treatments; 36 wheelchairs were distributed; and 1,301 people received walking aids. People with special needs were referred to appropriate rehabilitation centers. Specific records on the number of mine survivors assisted are not available.[46]

In February 2003, CMDO launched its new Multi-sector Mine Action project in the Kurram Agency, in partnership with Humanitarian Medical Aid & Development Response International, UK. The project focuses on the physical rehabilitation of landmine/UXO survivors through physiotherapy as well as facilitating access to other health services, including prosthetics, and includes a component for socio-economic reintegration. The program is funded by the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund.

[1] Explanation of vote on draft UNGA resolution A/C.1/57/L.36, New York, 23 October 2002.
[2] Statement by Pakistan, Fourth Annual Conference of States Parties to Amended Protocol II, Geneva 11 December 2002.
[3] Ibid.
[4] See Landmine Monitor Report 1999, p. 496.
[5] Letter from Joint Staff Headquarters, 4 April 2002.
[6] CCW Amended Protocol II Article 13 Report, Form C, 15 October 2002.
[7] See Landmine Monitor Report 2002, p. 725.
[8] See Landmine Monitor Report 2000, p. 525.
[9] Letter to PCBL from Joint Staff Headquarters, 4 April 2002.
[10] Letter to PCBL from Joint Staff Headquarters, Strategic Plans Division, Chaklala Cantonment, Pakistan, 10 March 2003.
[11] Letter to Mary Wareham, Landmine Monitor Global Coordinator, from Arif Ayub, Director General (UN & Disarmament), Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Islamabad, No.Dsmt-1/9/03, 15 July 2003.
[12] Statement to Fourth Annual Conference of Amended Protocol II, 11 December 2002.
[13] “District – (Sailkot) Youth injured by Landmine blast in border village,” Pakistan Press International (Sialkot), 10 April 2003.
[14] Article 13 Report, Form C, 15 October 2002.
[15] MASHRIQ (daily newspaper, Peshawar), 20 December 2002.
[16] “Five suspected drug smugglers killed by mines at Pakistan-Iran border,” Agence France Press (Quetta), 20 December 2002.
[17] MASHRIQ, 26 February 2003.
[18] “Pakistan Landmine Kills One, Injures Seven,” Reuters (Multan), 1 March 2003; “Pakistani soldier killed, seven injured in landmine explosion,” Agence France Press (Islamabad), 1 March 2003.
[19] “Two motorcyclists killed in landmine explosion in southern Pakistan,” Associated Press (Multan), 25 February 2003; “Eight killed in Kohlu landmine explosion,” Dawn (Quetta), 1 April 2003; PCBL “Landmine & UXO Incident Report: February to April 2003.”
[20] Article 13 Report, Form B, 15 October 2002.
[21] Ibid.
[22] “Pakistan farmers ask government to clear land mines from their field,” Associated Press (Lahore), 7 August 2002.
[23] Letter from Joint Staff Headquarters, 10 March 2003.
[24] PCBL, Landmine Victims database.
[25] CMDO, Household Survey database.
[26] Letter from Joint Staff Headquarters, 10 March 2003.
[27] Letter from Arif Ayub, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 15 July 2003.
[28] Article 13 Report, Form B, 15 October 2002.
[29] Article 13 Report, Form E, 15 October 2002.
[30] Email from Landmine Monitor Lebanon researcher, 2 July 2003.
[31] Article 13 Report, Form A, 15 October 2002.
[32] Report from Jean Gauthier Heymans, Handicap International Belgium, Quetta, December 2002.
[33] PCBL, Landmine Victims database (as of 11 July 2003).
[34] “Pakistan Reports Fresh Border Exchanges with India,” Reuters, 3 January 2002; “Mine Blast Kills 8 Pak Soldiers,” UNI/The Hitvada, 14 January 2002; “Mine Kills Five Pakistani soldiers,” UNI/The Hitvada, 24 January 2002.
[35] “Five suspected drug smugglers,” AFP, 20 December 2002.
[36] See Landmine Monitor Report 2002, pp. 728-729.
[37] MASHRIQ, 26 February 2003.
[38] “Pakistan Landmine,” Reuters, 1 March 2003; “Pakistani soldier killed,” AFP, 1 March 2003.
[39] “Two motorcyclists killed,” AP, 25 February 2003; “Eight killed,” Dawn, 1 April 2003; PCBL, “Landmine & UXO Incident Report: February to April 2003.”
[40] “Youth injured,” Pakistan Press International, 10 April 2003.
[41] More detailed information from the full draft version of the Landmine Monitor Pakistan report is available on request.
[42] For details on a survey conducted by CMDO, see Landmine Monitor Report 2002, p. 729.
[43] See Landmine Monitor Report 2002, p. 730.
[44] Response to Landmine Monitor questionnaire from Farhat Rahman, Director, CBR Programs, Association for the Rehabilitation of the Physically Disabled, Peshawar, 1 July 2003.
[45] Aid International/Mercy Corps Scotland, “Annual Report 2002,” p. 4.
[46] Report from Jean Gauthier Heymans, Handicap International Belgium, Quetta, December 2002.