The continued assault of polio workers defies all logic and goes against all standards of humanity. But that is what the militant mind is, thought-free and devoid of compassion. Gunmen on a motorbike shot dead a senior member of the polio eradication campaign, Doctor Zakaullah Khan in Peshawar on Sunday, in the latest attack on immunisation teams. The Jamaat-ul-Ahrar militant group claimed responsibility for the attack and the group’s spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan vowed to carry out more attacks.

Opposition to all forms of inoculation grew after the CIA organised a fake vaccination drive to help track down Al Qaeda’s former leader Osama Bin Laden in Abbottabad killed there by US forces in 2011. That was five years ago, in a different location, under a different governmental setup, and that alleged vaccination was for hepatitis and not for polio! The equivalence being set up here, that polio workers are pawns in a western plot to get to terrorists is beyond comprehension. What the killing has ended up doing is taking away a doctor from the community.

The fact is that even before 2011, professionals and intellectuals have been under threat by those like Lashkar-e-Taiba, Lashkar-e-Islam, the Taliban and the likes. The blowback against immunisation is blamed on Dr Shakil Afridi who collaborated with the CIA and now sits behind bars, but the real target of these organisations is any individual in Pakistan who is part of the modern setup of the state, a community leader exemplary of the fact that the democratic setup of the state can work, and people can be happy and healthy in it. The attack of doctors and health workers is justified by the 2011 CIA funded fake campaign, but the real issue is the threat of secularisation, of people living healthy lives and forgetting about the men in beards who want to hold power, and an intolerance towards alternative versions of life, that challenge and defeat the darkness of their visions of social order. This is the same logic under which teachers and students, the army, the minorities and the state is attacked and it must be realised as such by the people.