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Pakistani Groups Note Drop in Violence, Credit Military

FILE - Pakistan's army tanks and helicopters, seen in this army-issued photo, take part in a military exercise in Khairpur Tamiwali, Pakistan.

Two Pakistani research groups have noted a significant drop in militant violence in the country last year but say that for the trend to continue, authorities need to fight sectarian and anti-Indian extremists based in the most populous Punjab province.

The two Islamabad-based groups credited the military for the drop, specifically military operations in the lawless tribal regions bordering Afghanistan, in the chaotic port city of Karachi and the sparsely populated Baluchistan province.

The Center for Research and Security Studies says there was a 45 percent drop violence-related deaths last year, compared to the year before. The Pakistan Institute for Peace Studies, which tallies violent incidents, registered a 28 percent drop in attacks in 2016, compared to 2015.

The findings, based on the groups' records, were released over the weekend.