KARACHI, MANSEHRA: Three polio workers, two females among them, were killed when two polio teams administering vaccination to children in Qayyumabad area of Karachi were attacked; meanwhile one polio worker was shot dead in Mansehra. The killed were identified as Farhan, Aneeta and Akbri.
The attack prompted polio workers to boycott the campaign in Sindh over security concerns.
The police said that killing of polio team workers was a bid to terrorise and stop polio teams in the city so that they abandon the polio campaign which had entered its second day on Tuesday.
They said four armed men riding bikes opened fire on a polio team in Qayyumabad, injuring four polio workers including two women. Three of them later succumbed to injuries on their way to hospital.
The bodies and injured were shifted to Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC) for autopsies and treatment respectively.
Meanwhile, no group has claimed responsibility of the attack but militants had frequently targeted polio workers in the recent past.
Police and rescue said shots were fired on the polio team in Qayyumabad area of Karachi, near Sir Syed hospital.
The attackers, who were riding two motorbikes, managed to flee from the scene after firing shots on two separate teams in the area.
Sources said the polio teams were administering anti-polio drops in the area sans any security.
The attack comes a day after three-day anti-polio vaccination campaign was kicked off in Karachi, excluding some sensitive areas.
Officials said 5, 800 teams have been formed to complete the task of vaccinating 2.0 million children. Campaign will remain suspended in SITE, Gadap Town and Baldia Town due to security reasons.
Meanwhile, another polio worker was shot dead in KPK’s Mansehra town. The incident was reported in Shergarh area.
According to Police‚ workers of Health Department were busy in a three-day polio campaign when armed motorcyclists attacked them.
Strongly condemning the firing incidents on polio workers‚ President Mamnoon Hussain has reiterated resolve to continue anti-polio campaign until the country is declared free of the disesease.
In a statement‚ he said the cowardly attacks on polio teams cannot shake our detemrination to overcome this disease and make Pakistan a polio-free country. He urged the provincial government to take concrete meausres for the proteciton of polio workers so that they could work without any threat and hindrance.
Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif has also condemned the incident.
Meanwhile polio Workers announced boycott of anti-polio drive across Sindh, minutes after three polio workers, two females among them, were shot dead in Karachi.
Speaking to media, President All Pakistan Polio Workers Association, Khairun Nisa Memon, regretted insufficient security for polio workers. “Polio workers are being killed and no one is here to look after them,” she said in a press conference, while announcing suspension of anti-polio drive in Sindh.
She claimed that provincial Information Minister Sharjeel Memon had clearly told her that whatever security was being provided to polio teams was enough. She said the terrorists attacks on the polio teams are not acceptable, adding that the polio workers would continue boycott of administering polio drops to children in Sindh till the arrest of the attacks.
The lady health workers have also reportedly boycotted the vaccination campaign in Quetta against sacking of their colleagues. However, the Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI) manager, Dr. Ishaq denied the reports, saying that the campaign is continued in Quetta.