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.