Kidnapped Fate of polio workers shrouded in mystery

Ilyas and Raees were abducted within same week

Umer Farooq November 12, 2016

PESHAWAR: The fate of polio workers kidnapped last week is shrouded in mystery as the authorities feverishly try to trace their whereabouts.

According to details, Ilyas, a union council polio worker was picked up from his home located in Tank district. Interestingly, the kidnappers also picked up his uncle some 50 minutes later. Both are yet to be recovered.

Besides Ilyas, another person involved in polio eradication campaigns and a resident of Dera Ismail Khan was picked up in the same week. Raees, an employee of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) was picked up by unidentified men and was shifted to an undisclosed location.

Residents of the area dispute Ilyas’s occupation details. Some believe that Ilyas was offering his services voluntarily to the World Health Organisation (WHO) in its efforts against polio and doubt that he was a union council polio worker.

An official of the health department, speaking on the condition of anonymity, confirmed that Ilyas’s uncle, who was a teacher, was also picked up 50 minutes after Ilyas’s kidnapping.

He said that both men were abducted around midnight, adding that family members told the police that some men in uniform had picked them up. The official also said that both are yet to contact their family.

District Police Officer Tank Rasool Shah while speaking to The Express Tribune said, “we are working on the case under Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorist Act, and the Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) in Dera Ismail Khan was pursuing the case.”

The Deputy Commissioner Dera Ismail Khan Mutasim Billah, when contacted, stated that the district police was conveyed about the kidnapping of Raees. He added that the police have asked for some time before submitting a detailed report about the case. He informed that the police have been asked to submit the report till Saturday (today).

Polio victim dies

A poliovirus victim, nine-month old Sadia lost her life to the crippling disease on Friday. According to details, Sadia, was a resident of Kohistan and was confirmed to have been infected by the virus last week.

A senior official dealing with polio eradication campaigns told The Express Tribune, that she was not only infected by the virus but was also affected by other diseases including Tuberculosis and meningitis. He also added that he could not confirm whether Sadia lost her life due to polio.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 12th, 2016.


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