KHAR: After a nine-day hiatus, another person associated with polio vaccination work fell victim to the renewed wave of targeted attacks on those involved in protecting children against the crippling disease.
Abdullah Jan, 35, was going home on a motorbike when unidentified assailants shot him dead in the Thani area, some 20 kilometres from Khar, the headquarters of Bajaur tribal district, officials and locals said on Sunday.
Associated with the World Health Organisation (WHO) as union council polio officer, Jan was the fifth immunisation official to have been targeted in such attacks within a month in the country.
Bajaur attack is the latest in a series of incidents in Chaman, Buner and Mohmand over the past month
In the last week of April, a woman polio worker was killed and another wounded in a gun attack in the Chaman area just a day after the killing of a policeman escorting a polio team in Buner district, while another union council polio officer associated with the WHO was shot dead in the Haleemzai tehsil of Mohmand tribal district on April 8.
About the latest gun attack, Bajaur residents who reached the scene after hearing gunshots told Dawn that the incident occurred near a dry canal at Umary-Damadola Road on Saturday at around 9pm. They said Jan sustained multiple bullet wounds in the head and face. He was taken by Levies personnel and the locals to the district headquarters hospital in Khar, where he was pronounced dead on arrival, they added.
Confirming the incident, an official of the Bajaur district administration told Dawn on Sunday that the polio officer was going home from Inayat Kalli Bazaar when unidentified armed men opened fire on him with automatic weapons.
According to doctors, the victim died before being brought to the hospital as he had sustained several gunshot wounds.
The official said the body was handed over to his family after a post-mortem examination.
He said the administration had started investigation into the attack to know about the motive for the murder and expose the elements responsible for the incident. He said the administration had expedited their efforts to trace and arrest the attackers instead of waiting for the investigators to arrive at any conclusion.
Family members of the slain officer told reporters on Sunday that the victim had no personal enmity or dispute with anyone. They did not blame anyone for the murder, claiming that they did not know who could be responsible for his murder.
Later on Sunday afternoon, the slain polio officer was laid to rest in his native town in the Sisai area.
Besides family members and villagers, people from all walks of life, including district administration and health officials, attended his funeral.
Meanwhile, various political and religious parties as well as social workers in the district strongly condemned the killing of the officer involved in protecting children against the disease and demanded that the administration arrest the killers with immediate effect.
Published in Dawn, May 6th, 2019