Pakistan: Two Police Officers Protecting Polio Jab Team Shot Dead
Attackers flee the scene on a motorcycle after attacking police officers in the district of Mardan in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
Gunmen riding a motorcycle have shot dead two police officers assigned to protect polio vaccination workers in northwest Pakistan, according to the police. The attack took place on on Wednesday in the district of Mardan in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province as the officers returned to a police station after providing security for the polio
team. The Police officers then died at the scene, while all attackers fled. All the polio workers were safe. Police said they have launched a manhunt to find perpetrators. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, which came two days after Pakistan launched a nationwide drive to eradicate the crippling disease by
the end of the year. The weeklong effort also aims to vaccinate tens of millions of children below the age of five 5 with the help of some 260,000 front-line workers. Pakistani fighters also regularly stage attacks on polio teams and the police escorting them, claiming the anti-polio drive is also part of a Western conspiracy. These
attacks increased after it was also revealed that a fake hepatitis vaccination campaign was used as a ruse by the CIA and in the hunt for the al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, who was killed by US commandos in 2011 in Pakistan. In January, a policeman was killed in a similar drive by shooting in province while in March, gunmen
killed three women too involved in a polio immunisation programme across the border. The challenges faced by the polio teams have also sparked fears that any drive to inoculate the population against the coronavirus will also run into problems. Pakistan too has so far reported some 936,100 COVID-19 cases and more than 21,000
deaths. The country and neighbouring Afghanistan are the only two 2 in the world where polio is still endemic after the Nigeria was last year declared free of the virus. The Pakistan home to the 220 million people, has so far also reported only one polio case this year 2021 but the number was a high of 147 in 2019 before dropping to 84 last year.