PESHAWAR: Hilal Khan, 22, died at the Lady Reading Hospital on Thursday after fighting for his life for 24 hours. He had severe injuries on the left side of his head after he was shot on Wednesday, the last day of the three-day campaign in Sherojangai area.
Khan earned Rs300 a day during the anti-polio drive. It was enough money for him to support his studies after passing the secondary school examination as a private candidate.
His family never thought that taking part in the noble cause would become the pretext of his death.
Visibly disturbed relatives waited outside the neurosurgery Intensive Care Unit, hoping to get good news from the doctors. But by Thursday morning, Khan was pronounced dead. Since the bullet pierced through his head, there was no chance of survival.
The death toll of polio volunteers has increased to nine after Khan’s death. Two people died in Peshawar and Charsadda, while five were killed in Karachi on Tuesday in a string of attacks. Hilal was laid to rest in his ancestral graveyard in Wahid Garhi area on the outskirts of the city.
“My brother use to wait eagerly for campaigns and say everybody should play their role in making the country polio-free,” said Hilal’s brother Muhammad Jalal.
My father Wisal Khan is a taxi driver, he said, adding that they jointly contributed to household expenditures. “My brother was associated with polio campaigns since the past eight months.”
Muhammad Iqbal, Hilal’s uncle, said that they were still not clear who was behind the brutal attack. “He was only trying to save innocent children from paralyses.”
Published in The Express Tribune, December 21st, 2012.
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