Home Latest News Polio Worker Shot Dead in Peshawar

Polio Worker Shot Dead in Peshawar

by Nazar Ul Islam
File Photo

File Photo

Polio vaccination team supervisor killed and two others injured at Matani Civil Hospital.

The supervisor of a polio immunization team was shot dead by unidentified gunmen near Peshawar on Saturday, adding to growing concerns over the spread of the poliovirus.

“Two men on a motorcycle entered the Matani Civil Hospital on the outskirts of Peshawar and opened fire on a team of three people administering polio vaccinations,” said senior police official Muhammad Ijaz Khan. “The supervisor, Zahir Gul, was killed instantly, while his two assistants, including a woman, were injured,” he added. The gunmen fled the site shortly after the attack. Shoukat Yousafzai, the health minister of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, also confirmed the incident.

Matani, on the outskirts of the capital of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, is considered a gateway to Peshawar. Militants in the region often target security forces, pro-government militia elders, and polio workers.

Polio remains endemic in Pakistan, which recorded 72 cases of the disease this year, compared to 58 for all of the 2012, according to the World Health Organization. Despite multiple polio vaccination campaigns across the country, including one backed by cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan whose Tehreek-e-Insaf party rules the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, militants often target polio workers, accusing them of being spies. There is also a pervading belief that polio vaccinations can be used to sterilize Muslims.

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