KARACHI - Investigators could not show any progress as far as probe into the attacks on anti-polio teams is concerned, in which three vaccinators lost their lives.
The law enforcers cordoned off the locality of Qayyumabad and carried out door-to-door search operation, arresting hundreds of suspects. Police managed to recover weapons from only two residents.
When contacted, Korangi division SP Usman Bajwa said there was no such major breakthrough in the case but the detainees at least explained the modus operandi being used by the terrorists. He said that the residents of the locality were not cooperating with police.
He said the initial investigation suggested that at least six armed men on three motorcycles attacked the polio teams in Qayyumabad. “One group of the armed men attacked the first team. Then the second group of the culprits targeted the second team while one team of culprits was on their backup,” the officer explained. “The riders wore helmets while some of them were shalwar kameez and pent shirts.”
Investigators believed that the assailants managed to carryout the attack with the help of the locals. “If the attackers are not the residents of the area, but they must have had support of the locals,” he claimed.
In reply to a query, he said that militants’ presence in the area could not ruled out, but police put the area in normal category as there was no history of any such type of incident. Police made their focus in Bilal Colony and Mehran Town areas due to their history, he said adding that the firearms recovered from the detainees were also being verified. He said that the sketches of the attackers were also being made with the help of eyewitnesses.
In reaction of the illegal detention of several suspects from the area, residents of Baloch Colony and its surrounding areas staged a protest against police action. The protesters blocked the Expressway with minibuses parked in the middle and burnt tyres in the mourning. The protest continued even in peak hours when the residents were heading to their schools, colleges and work places. Hundreds of cars, buses, school-vans, rickshaws and bikes stranded for hours due to heavy traffic jam. The protesters including men, women and children chanted slogans against the police and pelted stones on the vehicles trying to cross the roads.
Heavy contingents of police rushed to the spot when angry mob started throwing stones on the cops. Resultantly, police resorted aerial firing and fired teargas shells to disperse the crowed. However, police managed to restore the traffic and dispersed the mob after five hours.
Meanwhile, Sindh Minister for Information, Archives and Local Government Sharjeel Inam Memon had directed the Sindh Secretary for Local Government and Sindh Secretary for Health to take necessary measures for the continuation of the anti-polio drive in the metropolis.
He said that the anti-polio drive would continue while the Local Government departments and their employees would take full participation in the drive.
He issued these directives to the Secretaries of Local Government and Health from his office and said that the anti-polio drive should continue while all Local Government departments including Taluka Councils, Union Councils, District Councils and other Local Government departments would take up the assigned obligation in letter and spirit so as to accomplish the given target of administering the anti-polio vaccine drops to more than 2 million children.
The Secretaries Health and Local Government should in this regard ensure full utilisation of available resources so that no child could be deprived of getting the anti-polio vaccine drop at his/her doorstep in the metropolis.
He said that the Sindh provincial government would not bow its head down before the terrorists and would also not allow the anti-polio drive to fail to inflict the children of the deadly polio virus.
He said that the Sindh Chief Minister had taken notice of the killings of the volunteers and had sought report from the Inspector General of Police, Sindh and directed arrest of the killers.
He said that the Sindh provincial government would not leave the volunteers alone at the mercy of the terrorists and the Sindh provincial government had also announced compensation money for the aggrieved families of the slain volunteers.
The anti-polio drive would be expedited more vigorously in retaliation to the designs of the terrorists that wanted to prevent the children from getting the anti-polio vaccine drops to stay safe for life time from the deadly polio virus.
The Minister also appealed to the people of the province to help the govt in foiling the conspiracies being hatched by the terrorists in the province.