The lives of both policemen and polio workers are still under extreme threat, as was made clear when seven policemen were gunned down by unknown assailants in Orangi Town on Wednesday. Those slain were charged with guarding a polio team when they were attacked. Attacking policemen and members of security forces has been a regular feature in recent history in the port city. Polio workers too, have been targeted and attacked on countless occasions all over the country. Attacks on the latter are derived by misplaced conspiracy theories about polio workers and their relation to the West, and if the government made an effort to dispel these ridiculous ideas, the casualty rate of polio workers could dramatically decrease.

Over 70 polio workers have been killed since 2012. Pakistan is now one of the only two countries that stand in the way of making the world polio-free. Neighbouring Afghanistan’s own problems with countering polio and the sheer volume of cross-border travel between the two countries makes the eradication of the virus even more challenging. And although the country has made significant strides since the abysmal record of both 2013 and 2014, the fight against polio will not end in 2016 as the optimists in government have claimed previously.

This attack also brings the idea of an improving security situation in Karachi under question. The crime rate, while greatly reduced ever since the operation began in 2013, is still very high in absolute terms. Orangi Town specifically, features in the news fairly regularly. The recent gruesome murder of three minors just days ago, coupled with regular cases of petty crime and the substantial presence of both Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and Ahle Sunnat Wal Jammat in Orangi Town suggests that all spheres of criminal activity are still prevalent.

Of course, this is not to say that all areas of Karachi are still unsafe, but after almost three years since the beginning of the Karachi Operation, there has to be some visible decrease of the frequency or indeed, the magnitude of attacks of such nature. It is also extremely unsettling that the attackers opened fire on one security team, killed them all, and then proceeded to attack another team in broad daylight. All of this after three years of clean-up indicate that much work still remains, and Karachi has a long way to go before it can be declared free from both polio and the decrepit state of law and order.