RAHIM YAR KHAN - Two polio teams were attacked in separate areas of tehsil Khanpur, 50kms from here on Wednesday. According to Deputy District Officer (Health) Agha Toheed Khan, a polio vaccination team, comprising two workers Maqbool Ahmed and Muhammad Saleem, was visiting Government Primary School Chak 17-P Neelgarh when teacher Muhammad Ashraf with his two companions attacked them. The attacking eachers tortured the team members, snatched their cell phones from them and wasted polio vaccine.

All the students were deprived of polio vaccine.  In another incident, a lady health worker of health department, Amna Hameed, with her son Shoaib reached Mouza Ghunyan where a Masood Khan Pathhan brought a gun from his house and threatened to kill her. He stopped the lady health worker from giving polio drops to his children. After these attacks, the health workers reached Khanpur Sadar police station along with their officials and got separate cases registered. DCO Nabeel Javaid told this reporter that the first incident was a scuffle between teachers and not an attack on the polio team and that the police, on his orders, had arrested one schoolteacher. As regards the second incident he is investigating the matter because a woman worker was threatened, he said. He added his administration was responsible for the protection of polio teams at any cost. Though he was an isolated incident, he had advised police for extra security measures, the DCO said and added the media should play its significant role in changing the behaviour of the masses for the polio vaccination, he said. A police official, not to be named, said the police tried to arrest Masood Khan, but due to pressure from some influential political figures, they failed to arrest him.

INP adds: A polio team was attacked on Wednesday in the Khanpur area of Rahimyar Khan. Police arrested a schoolteacher, identified as Ashraf, who reportedly led the attack. The polio team halted immunisation activities in the area following the incident.

On Tuesday, three people were injured in Gujranwala when a polio team was attacked in the area. Polio workers are frequently targeted in the country, while many parents stop health workers from administering polio drops to their children. The attacks on polio teams in Punjab are rare.

The total number of reported polio cases stands at 184 in Pakistan his year alone, which is one of the three countries in the world where polio is still endemic.