Gunmen kill 2 policemen guarding polio vaccination team

Pakistan Forward and AFP


Member National Assembly from Bajaur Gul Zafar Khan vaccinates an infant during the inauguration of a polio vaccination campaign December 15 in Bajaur. [Hanif Ullah]

DIR -- Gunmen killed at least two policemen in an attack on a polio vaccination security team in Lower Dir District, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), Wednesday (December 18).

The personnel were part of a nationwide anti-polio drive launched this week, aiming to inoculate tens of millions of children in Pakistan -- one of only two countries where the crippling disease remains endemic. The other country is Afghanistan, its neighbour.

Two gunmen on a motorcycle carried out the attack in the Lal Qila area of KP, near the border with Afghanistan, as police were gathering at a health centre before heading out with polio vaccinators, said police official Arif Shahbaz.

"The vaccinators were unhurt," added Shahbaz. Another police officer confirmed the incident and the toll.

Regression in war on polio

The attack comes during a devastating year in Pakistan's long fight against the disease, with at least 104 cases reported in 2019 so far.

Last year, just 12 cases were reported.

Nobody immediately claimed responsibility for the slayings, but the Pakistani Taliban and other militants have targeted polio vaccinators in the past.

Vaccination campaigns have faced stubborn resistance for years in Pakistan, with many refusing to have their children inoculated because of misinformation and conspiracy theories.

As Pakistan tries to reach its goal of eliminating polio from its territory, a new challenge has emerged in the form of a growing global movement against vaccinations.

The phenomenon has attracted adherents worldwide, fuelled by medically baseless claims and circulated by social media, resulting in a resurgence of formerly eradicated, highly contagious diseases.

Do you like this article?

1 Comment(s)

Comment Policy * Denotes required field 1500 / 1500

While the whole world is suffering from Corona, and there is turmoil in the world, wouldn’t it be better to spend this money for the prevention of Corona. There are just a couple of patients of this disease (Polio) in whole the country, but billions of Rupees are spent for it, but why are we not spending billions of Rupees for the disease that has gone pandemic and is challenging the world; does this not make polio campaign doubtful?? In our country, hundreds of thousands or maybe tens of millions of people are living beneath the poverty line, who can’t even afford one good meal. Would they be able to afford masks and gloves etc.? Not at all. So, have there been any arrangement of masks, gloves and emergency treatment for them? The answer would be “No”. So, can it be called wise to set aside such a pandemic disease that is turning in to a dangerous situation day by day and to treat a disease with less than 1% of patients.