Peshawar - While the polio campaign has entered the fourth consecutive day in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa today, the activity has exhausted the security personnel because all focus has been concentrated on the campaign, creating shortage of cops for other affairs in the province.

Speaking to The Nation, Peshawar Police chief Muhammad Ali Gandapur said that the polio campaign simultaneously in the entire province results in resource crunch. “We have even relieved police staff from offices and deputed them on security of the polio teams,” he added.

He said that in Muharramul Haraam, they could manage the security by deploying police personnel from other districts in the sensitive and most sensitive districts of the province. “Though it’s difficult, we are trying to manage the situation,” he added.

He also said that in Peshawar alone, a total of 2,696 cops have been deployed for the security of individual polio teams. In addition, there are security arrangements through mobile and riders patrolling as well as checkpoints.

Aimal Khan, a spokesman for the Emergency Operation Centre, told The Nation that the ongoing campaign is the first one during the last six months as everything remained standstill during the several months since coronavirus broke out.

He added that a total of 28,528 teams of polio workers, including, fixed, transit and mobile teams, were participating in the campaign, and the campaign is meant to vaccinate more than 65,35,000 children under five years of age.

District Police Officer Mardan Dr Zahidullah said that they have even diverted personnel from traffic management and deputed them on polio teams’ security.

He added that an official from another district also called him to provide them personnel during the campaign, but that he told him that the police in Mardan were also trying to cope with the situation themselves.

Another official said the government authorities should make a proper plan by conducting anti-polio campaigns region-wise as it becomes very difficult to manage the campaign at a time in the entire province.

He suggested that instead of conducting the polio drive in the entire province at a time, it should be conducted in various regions of the province in phases. “If the campaign is conducted in one region, any other region would be able to send their personnel to assist the cops in the region where the drive is being conducted. This way, the campaigns would become more secure and other affairs like traffic management, routine law and order duties will also continue smoothly as per routine,” the official added.

It may be mentioned here that a nutrition assistant working at a BHU, Naheeda Bibi, was shot dead in North Waziristan the other day.

North Waziristan Deputy Commissioner Shahid Ali told this scribe that he had handed over a compensation cheque to the family of the deceased Naheeda Bibi. 

He said that after the attack, the security of the teams has been strengthened further. He, however, added that the campaign continues smoothly in the tribal district.