KHYBER AGENCY - A polio worker was shot dead by an unidentified assailant in Ghundi area of Jamrud Tehsil of Khyber Agency on Wednesday, administration and local sources informed The Nation.

The administration official said the worker was busy in vaccinating the children on the second day of the seven-day long anti-polio campaign when unidentified armed persons shot him injured. He was rushed to a health centre for emergency treatment but succumbed to his wounds.

The deceased was identified as Fazal Amin of Sikandar Khel, sub-tribe of Koki Khel.

Field Supervisor Medical Officer Dr Hafiz, while confirming the incident, said the worker was administering polio drops to the children, when an armed person opened fire on him.

The unidentified killer managed to escape after committing the crime, the official maintained.

Immediately after the incident, security officials moved to the site, cordoned off the area and launched a search operation in the locality. So far 16 suspects were arrested and put behind the bars for investigation, Khasadar sources said.

Last year a woman worker, Farida and a number of Khasadar and Levies troops were targeted in the area during anti-polio campaign.

AFP adds: “A polio worker was shot at as he was administering polio drops in Jamrud area of Khyber,” local administration official Asmat Ullah Wazir told AFP.

The incident was confirmed by another local administration official who said it was the third day of the anti-polio drive in the province.

Nobody claimed responsibility for the incident but Taliban militants have attacked polio workers in the province in the past. More than a hundred people have been killed in such attacks since December 2012.

Islamist 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. He was killed there by US forces in 2011.

Despite the attacks, Pakistan hopes to be removed from the list of polio-endemic countries by 2018 by achieving its goal of no fresh cases for a year.

Pakistan is one of only two countries in the world where polio, a crippling childhood disease, remains endemic.