ISLAMABAD, Dec 21: The government has not announced any comprehensive plan for the security of polio vaccinators, even though nine of them have been gunned down in Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa this week.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik has described the deaths as a result of the ‘failure of intelligence agencies’ to predict the attacks.

“Provision of security to health workers is not the duty of the federal government. I believe these attacks have exposed the failure of our intelligence agencies,” Mr Malik told Dawn on Friday.

The minister said the group involved in the killing of health workers was highly organised and knew the schedule of polio teams. “I don’t know what our intelligence agencies are doing,” he said.

About the security measures for polio vaccinators, he said providing protection to the health workers was the responsibility of the provincial governments, especially after the passage of 18th Amendment. The interior ministry had issued guidelines for the security of polio workers to all provincial governments, he added.

“We don’t know what plan has been made for the security and safety of polio workers by the interior ministry,” President’s spokesman Farhatullah Babar said.

He, however, said that President Asif Ali Zardari had given strict directives to the interior minister to chalk out a comprehensive plan for the protection of health workers.

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