Islamabad: Latest in the attacks targeting aid workers in Pakistan, seven people were shot dead in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province when gunmen opened fire upon a vehicle carrying five female teachers and two aid workers.
Those killed were employed at a community centre with aid workers working at a medical clinic and female teachers at primary school.
In a rare show of mercy, the gunmen on motorcycles spared a child who also was in the van, and took him out before shooting at others in the van.
The attack has reconfirmed militants’ vehement opposition against female educators and charity health workers, as some militants oppose the vaccination campaigns, accusing health workers of acting as spies for the U.S. and alleging the vaccine is intended to make Muslim children sterile.
Last month, nine people working on an anti-polio vaccination campaign were shot and killed. Four of those shootings were in the northwest where Tuesday's attack took place.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the latest shootings.
Javed Akhtar, the director of Support With Working Solution, said the medical clinic vaccinated children against polio, and many of the NGO's staff had taken part in immunization campaigns.
Militants in the province have blown up schools and killed female educators. They have also kidnapped and killed aid workers, viewing them as promoting a foreign, liberal agenda.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, formerly called the Northwest Frontier province, borders the tribal areas of Pakistan along the frontier with Afghanistan to the west. Militant groups such as the Talibanhave used the tribal areas as a stronghold from which to wage war both in Afghanistan and against thePakistani government. Often that violence has spilled over into Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
With Agency Inputs
First Published: Wednesday, January 02, 2013, 09:23