Home Scope Tribal Jirga Sets Out to Negotiate Release of Polio Workers

Tribal Jirga Sets Out to Negotiate Release of Polio Workers

by AFP
Noorullah Shirzada—AFP

Noorullah Shirzada—AFP

Campaigners were kidnapped from Bara on Thursday.

The council of tribal elders in the federally-administered Khyber tribal agency is negotiating with the militant group Lashkar-e-Islam for the release of seven anti-polio campaigners who were abducted Thursday.

Authorities said the workers—four teachers from a private school, a male nurse, and two volunteers—were kidnapped during broad daylight from the Bara area by Lashkar-e-Islam while carrying out a vaccination campaign.

“The tribal jirga has started negotiations with the Lashkar-e-Islam people. We are hopeful for the early release of the polio workers,” said a senior government official in Bara. “Now the jirga is requesting them to release the abducted workers,” confirmed another official.

Militant groups in Pakistan have rejected polio vaccination as a Western plot against Muslims and banned teams from giving out polio drops in some areas which has hampered efforts to vaccinate children against polio.

The newly-anointed leader of the Pakistani Taliban, Fazlullah, himself crippled by polio, had also railed against vaccinations until emissaries of the previous government in Islamabad urged him to reconsider.

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