One killed in attack on polio team in Pakistan

An official was killed on Monday when motorcycle-borne armed men attacked a polio vaccination team in Pakistan's restive Balochistan province, seriously hampering the drive to eradicate the crippling disease.

PTI| Updated: Sep 15, 2014, 18:19 PM IST

Karachi: An official was killed on Monday when motorcycle-borne armed men attacked a polio vaccination team in Pakistan's restive Balochistan province, seriously hampering the drive to eradicate the crippling disease.

A campaign official said that armed men opened fire at the team in Pishin's Karbala area and killed the levies official.

"The Levies man was guarding the polio workers when they came under attack by militants," the official said, adding that the polio workers survived the attack.

The assailants escaped on a motorcycle soon after the attack. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.

The Health Department of Balochistan in collaboration with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and UNICEF launched an anti-polio campaign in Quetta, Killa Abdullah and Pishin last week.

A health department official told Dawn that the campaign aims to target over 700,000 children. Pishin is one of the high-risk districts of Balochistan as it has witnessed an alarming increase in polio cases.

Polio teams in Quetta, Pishin and other parts of Balochistan have often been attacked by militants in the past, seriously hampering efforts to eradicate the crippling disease.
The Taliban has also banned anti-polio drive in North Waziristan in June 2012.

The total number of new cases of polio infection in 2014 have reached 122, out of which 89 are in the tribal areas. Pakistan is one of only three countries in the world where polio remains endemic; the other two are Afghanistan and Nigeria.

A report compiled by the International Monitoring Board (IMB), the body which suggested international travel restrictions on Pakistan, stated that Pakistan has failed to keep its promise of a polio-free Pakistan by 2014.