THE killings in Karachi and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa of eight health workers deployed for the polio eradication campaign, sponsored by the UN, have further tarnished the image of Pakistan.

Out of whom, four were young girls. As a result, the UN has suspended its programme in Pakistan, which is very alarming because the killing occurred in a cosmopolitan city of Pakistan.

Second, Pakistan being one of the three countries which is not polio-free and having multi-dimensional stigmas like terrorism, corruption, bad governance cannot sustain any further such acts which invite international condemnation such as Pakistan is already in isolation and such act will really isolate it in the world.

Although, the president of Pakistan has taken notice and directed the home ministry to provide protection to the polio team, like other directives this direction does not seems to suffice.

As it has been said by agencies, the killers had complete pre-hand knowledge of the campaign and were aware of the minute details to the extent of the names of the health workers, their religion, their sect, their creed.

It was a part of the well-considered plan. It is time the government made a comprehensive plan to ensure protection of health workers and other related problems. Otherwise, we might face visa sanctions or even more than that.

AYESHA ASIF Lahore

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