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A woman cries while sitting next to the body of her daughter, a worker of an anti-polio drive campaign, in an ambulance outside Jinnah Hospital in Karachi, Dec 18, 2012. — Photo by Reuters/File

PESHAWAR: The World Health Organisation (WHO) directed its field staff to stop their work in Pakistan after two people were killed and two others were injured when teams  involved in the nationwide polio vaccination drive were attacked in Peshawar, Nowshera and Charsadda in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province on Wednesday, DawnNews reported.

A woman from a polio vaccination team and a driver associated with the program were killed during the attack on the team in Charsadda.

Senior government official Syed Zafar Ali Shah said gunmen targeted two other polio teams in Charsadda, but no one was wounded in those attacks.

Earlier, reports had stated that a bystander was injured when unknown gunmen fired at a polio team in Charsadda.

After preliminary news of the first attack, EDO Charsadda had stated that the anti-polio drive would continue in the region, adding that, "such attacks" could not shake the resolve of the government.

Moreover, one volunteer was injured during the attack on a polio team in Peshawar. The injured worker was shifted to the Lady Reading Hospital for treatment.

The attack took place in Peshawar's Khazana area when unknown assailants fired at the team.

Separately, gunmen attacked a polio team working in Nowshera. However, no casualties were reported from that attack.

In the wake of the latest attacks on anti-polio workers, the World Health Organisation (WHO) directed its field staff to halt work in Pakistan.

The field staff should stop its work until further instructions, the WHO said.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Wednesday's killings.

Earlier on Tuesday, five health workers involved in the vaccination drive were killed in the cities of Karachi and Peshawar.

Four women were killed in less than an hour in seemingly coordinated attacks in Karachi.

A fifth worker, also a woman, was killed in the northwestern city of Peshawar.

The five workers were killed a day after a man working on a local government-World Health Organisation (WHO) project was shot dead in Karachi.

AP adds:

Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan’s spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan claimed responsibility for the attacks on Tuesday, the Associated Press said in a report on Wednesday.

Pakistan is one of only three countries where polio remains endemic, along with Afghanistan and Nigeria, but efforts to tackle the highly infectious crippling disease have been hampered over the years by local suspicion.

Comments (27) Closed

HassanRazaJanjua Dec 19, 2012 04:11pm
Its all because of our Government cuz our government let Osama bin ladin caught with the help of fake Polio campign now tabliban think every Polio campagin is fake and is just to gather intell
Ali G Dec 19, 2012 10:55am
its shameful...and have no other words to condem it
Saeed Dec 19, 2012 10:17pm
Muslim of Pakistan.
Azhar Dec 19, 2012 06:59am
They authorities knew the danger involved but did nothing to protect the workers. Why innocent people have to die ? The killers cannot be called human and is so shame full for the idiots in the government. None of them will have the integrity to come forward and share the responsibility.
Malik Awwab Dec 19, 2012 08:44pm
People need to join hands together to fight this epidamic,if we read and forget about it, soon this problem will be in our backyard.
Kamal Gupta Dec 19, 2012 06:21am
This is insane. Polio makes a child disabled for life. How can anyone in his or her right mind talk against protection from it? Few years back, muslim fanatics in India were also protesting against polio vaccinations. The mullahs in some mosques were telling their congregations either that the vaccines are imported from Israel (not true, but even if so, so what?), or that these vaccines are designed to make muslims infertile. It took 5 years of ceaseless campaigning by respectable people like Amitabh Bachhan, Sheila Dikshit (Chief Minster of Delhi), and others, coupled with unceasing efforts of volunteers and workers on the ground, to persuade the die-hards to change. I believe fanatics in Pakistan are spreading a similar message. And some of these fanatics are being funded by charities operating from Saudi Arabia.
Raj kris Dec 19, 2012 08:17pm
guys! You created the monster and now it has turned on you!!!
Ayesha Mohammad Dec 19, 2012 09:09pm
And what that may be ? Please tell us .
AHA Dec 19, 2012 02:11pm
There is only one real solution - and we are not even ready to blog about it.
Lakhkar Khan Dec 19, 2012 05:34pm
Why shame on all Pakistan? These beasts are with guns and bombs who only know how to kill indiscriminately. They are not representing Pakistan. The victims are representing your avarege Pakistani.
APC Dec 20, 2012 03:11am
My GOD what is going over ? I don't understand why they kill people like her, why?
butseriouslyok Dec 19, 2012 01:41pm
Tehrik-i-Taliban seems to be in charge of Pakistan now...more powerful than the army or the elected govt.
aliya Dec 19, 2012 06:18pm
Thousands will die ..we will never learn....
Sahil Dec 19, 2012 04:42pm
Don't understand, what stopping Pakistani government to take military action against taliban???
concerned human Dec 19, 2012 07:07pm
As always!!....lots of talk on what must be done...but NO ACTION!!!. This is the reason where Pakistan stands today.
Khan Dec 20, 2012 02:01am
Umesh what I noted is in this part of the world including India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Burma , Sri Lanka respect for human life is lacking , corruption is rampant and strict implementation of law is missing.
AHA Dec 19, 2012 02:09pm
So many good causes have suffered a major set-back due to this barbaric act. These include: Health of children. A hope for a future. Women
Yousaf_Khan Dec 19, 2012 11:42pm
Failed state, Failed Economy, Failed People, that's what we refer to as Pakistan in Today's world, Our people are no better than the Taliban themselves, they have made them into what they are today. These savages are not even letting kids get polio vacations now, its counter productive though since if these kids get polio then these savages will not be able to recruit them and use them as suicide bombers and assassins by brain washing them later....
Cyrus Howell Dec 19, 2012 12:10pm
All these women thought they were helping, thought they were doing good, making a difference. This was taken away with their lives, and the lives of their daughters. It is even more painful than death alone.
Faisal Dec 19, 2012 12:26pm
I whole-heartedly agree with Mr. Gupta. While it is sad, insane, and shameful to kill poor volunteers (especially females) who bravely went about doing their noble duty, we need to urgently come up with solutions to cope with this menace. Providing security to the health workers is one such measure but I wonder if the police, etc.,are willing to divert some of their personnel for this purpose (after all, the security of ministers, IG Police, etc., is much more important). Involving non-controversial and respectable people as stated by Mr. Gupta seems to be a very good idea; perhaps, people like Sattar Edhi, Sen., Raza Rabbani, non-controversial Cricket Team players, journalist Talat Hussain, etc., can be persuaded to become part of the anti-polio campaign and convince the general public not to pay heed to the propaganda being unleashed by the fanatics. Although Ulema (the real Ulema) can also play a very effective and positive role in this context but, then, Saudi money has its own charms!
Jamal Syed Dec 19, 2012 03:46pm
No, I think we are ready now. We should start talking about this 'other' solution now or will lose the country for ever.
umesh Dec 19, 2012 09:13am
this act is shameful for pakistan.they should take some steps to stop voilence in their country..
majid canada Dec 19, 2012 07:49pm
solution is military rule.muslims have never progressed in a democratic society a single muslim country in world that has democracy. because we muslims only understand rule of stick. sad but true.comeon military save us again.
Jamal Syed Dec 19, 2012 03:45pm
Only in Pakistan... What is happening to my country? it seems like savages are ruling the streets. This is not the Islam we grew up with. This is insanity! They have already made us mentally dysfunctional, now they want our children to be physically handicapped. WHY?????
Dr.M.M.Khan Dec 19, 2012 08:26pm
What a tragedy for Pakistan. Here were health workers giving vaccine drops to prevent future generations of Pakistan from developing deformities. The children have human rights too. When they grow up and ask what was the cause this? What will we reply.? Will of Allah? The reward of these noble workers----a fatal bullet. As a doctor i just can't understand the mindset of such people who carry out such despicable acts. What has politics or religion to do with this.?
Ch Farooq Dec 19, 2012 04:14pm
This is an act extremely shameful and condemnable. We don't see anything as cheap as human life in akistan, there is no accountability and no law prevailing here. Life of poor and opressed have become simply miserable!
AC1960 Dec 19, 2012 09:43am
Shame on us Pakistanis, every body included. There is hardly reaction as a society/nation. No one, especially those who pretend to be the owner of the religion, has courage to speak against these criminals.