An injured polio worker is being treated at Lady Reading Hospital in Peshawar on Tuesday. – Photo by Zahir Shah Sherazi
A Pakistani health worker gives polio vaccine to a childPakistan. -AP Photo
PESHAWAR:At least 14 suspects were taken into custody by security forces on Tuesday following an attack on an anti-polio vaccination team in Kaga Wala village in Badbher area in the suburbs of Peshawar which had left one lady worker dead and another injured, police officials told Dawn.com.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has announced temporary suspension of anti-polio activities after the incident.
Assistant Commissioner Peshawar Habibullah Arif however said that the campaign is continuing in other areas of Peshawar and a complete halt has not been ordered so far.
He said that he is personally supervising the drive in some areas. However, workers on the outskirts of the City are reluctant to move out after the incident and no polio teams are visible according to the locals
Acting in-charge of EPI Programme Dr Raheem Khattak told Dawn.Com that the polio vaccinators were on the vaccination duty when they were attacked by unidentified gunmen, killing one of them and inuring the other.
“It was the first day of vaccination drive in Peshawar and the workers were on routine duty when they came under attack,”
About the suspension of the polio vaccination after the attack, Dr Raheem Khatta said that the Deputy Commissoner of Peshawar has to decide about it, keeping in view the security concerns but they had not received any written order so far.
The polio team was reportedly without the security guards which might have been the reason for the attack.
The government has assured that the polio vaccinators that they would be well -protected during the vaccination duty and guards would be provided to them but the polio team which came under attack on Tuesday was no accompanied by the guards.
The Badbher Police says that the police mobile van was on routine patrol but the area people has requested that the armed guards should not accompany the vaccinators as it would endanger them more.
The casualties were shifted to the Lady Reading Hospital in Peshawar.
Lady Reading Hospital officials told Dawn.com that one of the attacked woman had succumbed to her wounds whereas the condition of the other injured woman was stated as critical.
The polio team was not accompanied by a policeman for security because of which the assailants easily managed to escape from the site of attack on foot, according to local eyewitnesses.
Police had lodged an FIR against unknown persons after the incident.
Security forces cordoned off the site of attack as a probe into the incident went underway.
Moreover, a three-day anti-polio campaign was suspended in Karachi's Gadap town area after the vaccination volunteers received life-threats from armed men, upon entering the area to conduct the vaccination campaign.
Meanwhile, Deputy Commissioner Peshawar Javed Khan Marwat said the authorities have decided to suspend the on-going three-day polio vaccination in the provincial capital following the killing of a woman polio vaccinator and injuring of another on Tuesday morning.
A meeting of the provincial health authorities in KP, district administration, EPI programme and the concerned law enforcement agencies was held on Tuesday evening to decide about the ongoing campaign.