Pakistan: Gunmen focus on polio employees, get rid of policeman | News | DW

Armed gunmen on Tuesday shot dead a law enforcement officer guarding a team of polio vaccine handlers in northwestern Pakistan, according to area officials.

The assault took area in Karak, a remote town in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, on the 2nd day of a 5-day countrywide polio immunization drive. According to official figures, Karak and adjoining areas recorded 15 of province’s 22 scenarios polio circumstances previous 12 months.

“Two gunmen came on a bike and attacked our colleague Junaid Ullah even though he was escorting the polio group. They opened fireplace on the van carrying polio personnel,” Muhammad Ishaq Khan, a law enforcement official in Karak, told DW.

“Law enforcement groups have introduced an procedure to capture the attackers. The polio vaccination marketing campaign has been temporarily halted we will resume it in the spot tomorrow,” he added.

The hottest polio marketing campaign aims to vaccinate a lot more than 40 million kids beneath the age of 5 across Pakistan, with the help of around 285,000 frontline employees.

Islamist attacks

Islamist militants routinely carry out violent assaults towards polio vaccination employees in northwestern Pakistan.

The Taliban assert that polio eradication strategies are remaining utilised by the West as a address for spying. They allege that the drives are identical to a hepatitis vaccination software run by the imprisoned Pakistani health practitioner Shakeel Afridi, who allegedly aided the CIA come across al Qaeda’s former main Osama bin Laden. Bin Laden was killed by the US Exclusive Forces at his Abbottabad hideout in Might, 2011.

“Polio vaccination is regarded as a overseas generate and a propaganda campaign in these places of Pakistan,” Rahim ullah Yousafzai, a stability analyst, informed DW.

Growing polio conditions in Pakistan

Polio is now only discovered in two countries — Afghanistan and Pakistan — with the latter struggling to cope with a surge in instances more than the previous number of months. The Muslim-the vast majority South Asian region has registered 68 polio circumstances since the begin of the calendar year.

The sickness, which generally influences children less than the age of 5, can infect the spinal wire, leading to paralysis.

Pakistani authorities brought down polio circumstances to as very low as 8 in 2017 and 12 in 2018. Nonetheless, in 2019, scenarios rose to 148.

Pakistan begun its to start with nationwide polio eradication campaign in 1994. At the time, the place was recording 20,000 polio instances each and every yr on an average. By 2004, 10 decades into the marketing campaign, the number of instances in the nation had dropped to only 30 per year. Well being specialists dubbed it a important accomplishment.

Nonetheless, the campaign misplaced momentum after the September 11, 2001 attacks and the deteriorating security circumstance in the many years adhering to the US invasion of Afghanistan. The US-led war on terror in the Afghanistan-Pakistan area manufactured it hard for authorities to concentration on polio eradication.

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has also experienced an affect on polio vaccination campaigns, with the government’s concentrate shifting to control COVID-19 in the place.

Haroon Janjua, DW correspondent in Islamabad, contributed to this story.

shs/rt (AP, AFP, dpa)