Polio cop shot dead in Karak

By: News Desk      Published: 03:43 PM, 12 Jan, 2021
Polio cop shot dead in Karak
Representative image.

A policeman named Junaid escorting a polio vaccination team was shot dead near Gardi Banda area of Karak in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in a drive-by shooting on Tuesday, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.

Police were conducting a search operation in the area to find the terrorists who came on a motorbike and targeted the polio team.

The polio campaign in the area came to a temporary halt after the Karak incident.

KP Inspector General of Police Dr Sanaullah Abbasi said the terrorists who targeted the polio workers will be behind the bars soon.

“Khyber Pakhtunkhwa will soon be made a polio-free province,” he said while lauding the efforts of the martyred policeman.

The KP IGP vowed action against those handful elements who are working against the anti-polio drive.  

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Mahmood Khan has condemned the attack on polio team in Karak. He expressed regret over the martyrdom of a policeman in the incident and prayed for the elevation of the ranks of the martyrs. 

The KP CM ordered the police to arrest the culprits at the earliest. “The elements involved in the incident are the enemies of our children,” Mahmood Khan said.

The United Nations says endemic polio has been eliminated in every country of the world apart from Pakistan and neighbouring Afghanistan, where vaccination teams are viewed with suspicion.

Opposition to vaccines grew after the CIA organised a fake inoculation drive that helped them track down Al-Qaeda founder Osama Bin Laden in Abbottabad.

Large security details are now frequently deployed with vaccine teams -- particularly in the restive northwest. 

"A policeman escorting a polio team came under attack.. they came on a motorcycle and opened fire from the back," said Naqeeb Khan, a police official in Karak. "The policeman was killed on the spot," he told AFP.

The challenges faced by polio teams have sparked fears that any drive to inoculate the population against the coronavirus will also run into problems.

The latest polio effort aims to vaccinate more than 40 million children under the age of five across Pakistan with the help of around 285,000 frontline workers.

Balochistan front

In Balochistan, the anti-polio campaign has been continuing in 33 districts of the province on the second day of the five-day drive.

“More than 2.4 million children will be vaccinated against polio during the campaign and 8,692 mobile teams, 941 teams are being deployed at sites in Balochistan,” the TV channel reported. 

Pakistan and Afghanistan are the only two countries in the world where the poliovirus is still present, the TV channel reported.

As many as 26 cases were reported from Balochistan in 2020, while 84 cases were reported from the rest of the country.