Dera Ismail Khan- Unidentified miscreants fired shots at polio vaccination team today, killing two policemen while injuring another as they were providing security to a team of anti-polio vaccinators in Dera Ismail Khan district of Khyber Pakhtonkhaw, officials said.
Police officials said the gunmen fired at the anti-polio-vaccination team at Gandi Omar Khan area of Dera Ismail Khan, the second largest district city of the restive province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The injured cop was shifted to a Dera Ismail Khan hospital. He is reportedly in a critical condition. Bodies of deceased cops were also shifted to a government hospital for autopsy.
Lady Heath workers, however, remained safe in the attack, officials said. WHO recently declared Peshawar, capital of Khyber Pakhtonkhaw, as epicenter of the polio virus in the world. 35 polio cases have been reported across Pakistan.
No one has claimed the responsibility for the attack as yet, though the Pakistani Taliban have repeatedly targeted health workers vaccinating against polio, accusing them of being spies. The violence has seriously hampered the immunization campaign in Pakistan, one of the three countries in the world where polio is endemic.
The resistance to polio vaccination by Taliban militants stiffened after the May 2011 raid on Osama Bin Laden’s compound in northern Pakistan as reports surfaced that the Central Intelligence Agency had used Dr. Shakil Afridi, a Pakistani doctor, to run a fake vaccination campaign to gain access into Bin Laden’s hide-out.
Since then, Taliban insurgents have increased their attacks on the vaccination work and issued religious edicts claiming that the United States uses it as a spying network. Hard-line religious extremists also claim that the vaccinations aim to sterilize Muslims. According to the World Health Organisation, more than 3.5 million Pakistani children missed out on polio vaccination when over a dozen immunization workers were shot dead in various parts of Pakistan.