Polio vaccinator kidnapped, killed

Residents of Gulozai area block the motorway on Monday in protest against the kidnapping and killing of a polio worker. — Photo by White Star
Residents of Gulozai area block the motorway on Monday in protest against the kidnapping and killing of a polio worker. — Photo by White Star

PESHAWAR: A female polio vaccinator kidnapped from her house in Gulozai village in the suburbs of Peshawar on Sunday night had been killed. Her bullet-riddled and severely tortured body was found in a field on Monday morning.

Salma Farooqui, 30, played an active role in the ‘Sehat Ka Insaf’ anti-polio campaign recently launched by the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government despite having been threatened by some callers for doing so.

Salma’s father, Abdul Ghani, told Dawn that about 12 armed men barged the house at about 12.45am on Sunday night. Some of the men first entered the house by scaling the boundary wall and forced a member of the family to hand over keys of the main gate. Their accomplices entered the house and tied hands of all members of the family and covered their eyes. Salma’s husband Mohammad Karim tried to resist but the intruders warned him of killing his five children.

Abdul Ghani said the family was initially under impression that the assailants might be robbers because they collected Rs10,000 cash and some jewellery from the house. But they also took away Salma, he added.

After the kidnappers left the house, he said, one of the children managed to untie his own hands and later of other members of the family. They raised alarm and informed neighbours about the incident.

He said some of the neighbours started looking for the assailants in nearby street, but they had left the area by that time.

Abdul Ghani said that on Monday morning his relatives blocked the motorway in protest against the incident but dispersed on SP Rahim Shah Khan’s assurance that police were trying to find Salma. In the meantime, he said, a caller informed him that the body of his daughter was lying near a place along Shah Alam river.

The body was taken to a hospital where doctors said it bore bullet injuries and marks of torture. The woman had been hit by rifle butts and knives.

Abdul Ghani said his family had no enmity. “We often advised Salma to take care of herself because of threats, but she continued to perform her duty punctually.”

The money taken away by the assailants had been kept by the family for the school admission fee of the children, he added.

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Comments (12) Closed

dr. Aftab Khan Sher
Mar 25, 2014 07:50am

well time for some more peace talks! What shameful act what human does this? Does Islam allow this? Does Allah allow this? and we still want to talk "peace"? So sad and yet no one cares. When will Allah punish these terrorists?

Sufi Mateen
Mar 25, 2014 08:21am

Dawn it is not enough to publish sensational stories. You need to find a way for us to help these brave families.

Amir Bangash
Mar 25, 2014 08:25am

Terrorism is continuously inflicting wounds on Pakhtuns and has destroyed their culture, polity and social institutions.

Mar 25, 2014 08:25am

What is wrong with these Islamists who carry out such dastardly acts on health workers. These fanatic Muslims do not feel for children whose lives are at risk due to polio. There are not fit to be called humans or animals. They should be mercilessly hounded and killed but would the Pakistani police or even the military have guts to kill who are supported by the dreaded ISI?

Mar 25, 2014 08:40am

Oh god. This is heartbreaking.

Mar 25, 2014 09:04am

India just declared the monumentous victory of defeating polio in a country with the most poor in the world. I wish Pakistan could have rightly been alongsides it, and also defeated polio this year. I salute Salma Farooqui -clearly a brave and amazing young woman who was fighting for children to live a healthy life.

Ravi Dallas TX
Mar 25, 2014 10:07am

And peace talks continue...

Mar 25, 2014 02:35pm

@Kolsat: First of all, there isn't any evidence or a claim from any islamist group yet. But even if they are the main culprits then do you really think our Army or Police could tackle the terrorists and establish peace and harmony in the country? If yes, then show me any account of success from our para military forces from the past

Umer Saleem
Mar 25, 2014 04:15pm

I am astonished by this inhuman crime. I demand the KPK govt to provide educational funds and scholarships to the children of our brave sister and to declare a war against these criminals. Wake up Mr Imran Khan and be responsible to the life and honor of people who have elected you.

Mar 25, 2014 07:36pm

wow 12 men needed to kidnap, kill and torture 1 unarmed person .i can only feel shame.

Mar 28, 2014 06:23pm

The enemies of humanity must be identified immediately and given exemplary punishments.

Mar 28, 2014 06:26pm

The enemies of humanity must be identified immediately and given exemplary punishments.