Polio supervisor gunned down in Khyber Agency

Published: December 21, 2013
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PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE

PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE

JAMRUD: The supervisor of an anti-polio vaccinations campaign in Jamrud tehsil was gunned down by unknown militants in his office on Saturday morning.

An official of the political administration Asmatullah Wazir said two masked militants on motorbikes parked barged into the supervisor Ghilaf Khan’s office and told the women and children present to leave.

“The women and children ran away and vacated the office,” he explained.

The official added that one of the militants opened fire at the supervisor and then managed to escape. Residents of the area rushed the injured to the Jamrud Civil Hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.

Wazir also added that the militants left a note threatening the polio workers of the same fate as the supervisor.

The supervisor has been working in his office at Expanded Program of Immunization (EPI) in Ghundai area when he was targeted.

A search operation was launched in the area all routes in and out of it were blocked by khasadar officials.

Polio workers attacked

On December 13, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf Chairman Imran Khan had decided to kick off a campaign against polio, as terrorists continued their attacks on polio teams in the tribal areas. PTI leaders said it would be an attempt to boost the morale of polio workers who are constantly facing threats to their lives.

Imran Khan had termed termed those who kill polio workers and police officials “anti-state elements and enemies of the nation.”

His decision came on the same day that two police officers and one polio worker were shot dead in separate incidents. In the first incident, two officers providing security to a polio team were killed when unidentified men opened fire at them in Swabi.

In another incident, a Ward Boy at Civil Hospital Jamrud was gunned down by unknown militants when he was administering anti-polio drops to minors in Naye Abadi area of  Jamrud.

On November 26, the teachers kidnapped for assisting an ongoing anti-polio drive in Khyber Agency were set free. Seven teachers had been kidnapped on November 21 for allegedly allowing polio vaccination teams inside a private school in Bara tehsil.

On October 10, three khasadar officials of Khyber Agency, who were providing security to polio vaccinators, sustained injuries when a roadside bomb targeted their vehicle on Ring Road near Achini in Peshawar.

Earlier, two people were killed and over a dozen – including two polio workers – were injured in a bomb blast outside a dispensary in a village on the edge of Peshawar on October 7. They were scheduled to finalise security arrangements for the ongoing polio vaccination campaign in the area.

Two polio volunteers were also killed in Tapaini, Swabi on June 16. The two men were administering drops to children in the area.

On January 29, a police constable escorting polio workers was shot dead in Gullo Dheri, Swabi. On the same day in the neighbouring district of Mardan, a man took an axe to a lady health worker’s brother who was accompanying her for protection during the anti-polio drive; the brother was injured.

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Reader Comments (18)

  • Shabir
    Dec 21, 2013 - 3:01PM

    Sad news. No words to condemn such a brutal act.

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  • Anon
    Dec 21, 2013 - 3:29PM

    Thank you Shakil Afridi and the CIA….

    Another favour you guys have done to this country!

    Recommend

  • Pro Pk
    Dec 21, 2013 - 4:04PM

    So sad :( to read that. Religio-political parties should play their role to stop these barbarities unless it is too late especially JI and JUI-F.

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  • AliKuliKhan
    Dec 21, 2013 - 4:11PM

    IK needs to realize that the acts of terrorism are not an outcome of drone attacks. These terrorists are our enemies and need to be dealt with accordingly.

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  • Guru
    Dec 21, 2013 - 4:12PM

    Thad’s why Pakistan is called very unique country. here religion is more important than health

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  • M. Emad
    Dec 21, 2013 - 4:51PM

    Poliostan!

    Polio (vaccination) seems a lost case in Pakistan. Polio (vaccination) Team members seems in a suicide mission!

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  • joy
    Dec 21, 2013 - 5:59PM

    just four comments on this story and just see the number of comments on Dhoom 3. Says a lot about what is the priority of our western neighbour.

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  • Faisal Gilani
    Dec 21, 2013 - 6:10PM

    I was angry when India announced ban on Pakistanis travelling abroad but now I think they did the right thing and other nations should follow suit. Army what are you waiting for?

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  • csmann
    Dec 21, 2013 - 6:23PM

    IKs boys at it again.

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  • gul jan
    Dec 21, 2013 - 7:17PM

    @Anon: Great! you have exactly and inventively identified the friends of polio in Pakistan. Keep your good work. We need the likes of you to eradicate the curse of Polio.

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  • B
    Dec 21, 2013 - 7:32PM

    It is a sheer humbug to blame Afridi or the CIA. These killings and stoppage of polio vaccines started before them. All blame lies on the shoulders of Pakistan. Stop this National pastime of blaming others.

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  • pakimuslimpig
    Dec 21, 2013 - 10:02PM

    pakistani is more safer than India. this will not count.Recommend

  • Lala Gee
    Dec 21, 2013 - 11:36PM

    @Anon:

    Surely the Militants can take over administrating Polio drops? Get Halal Polio drops form Saudi Arabia ?Recommend

  • Anon
    Dec 21, 2013 - 11:51PM

    @Lala Gee: By talking about “Halal Polio drops” I think you are confusing two different issues. Firstly, whether they consider polio drops to be unislamic or secondly, whether they think those administering the drops are military targets.
    The unislamic part is not the debate, I dont think theyre claiming that either.
    Why dont they administer drugs themselves? Because they dont care about Pakistani children. They may have not involved polio workers in the violence and they wouldve been roundly condemned if they had. However, by using aid workers as a military tool, the US has put them firmly in the crossfire. This is not something that should have been expected of a civilised govt. They should have been the ones following the norms, not the ones violating them and consequently putting aid workers in harms way.
    This was the point where the civilised were supposed to distinguish themselves from the uncivilised!Recommend

  • indian
    Dec 22, 2013 - 12:57AM

    @Anon:

    “They may have not involved polio workers in the violence and they would’ve been roundly condemned if they had. However, by using aid workers as a military tool, the US has put them firmly in the crossfire.”

    False comfort… They never thought twice before going after Sri Lankan cricket team, going after school teachers… What makes you think …they will spare aid workers? It was just a matter of time before they target aid workers too … “they will not harm “me” ” attitude of Pakistanis is what irks the outside world.

    Unit and fight the terrorists..else there will come day when they will target Sunni Punjabis and Sindhis ..but there will be no other Pakistani to come to the rescue …save but us the Indians!

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  • Aalia
    Dec 22, 2013 - 4:54AM

    PTI demands extra security for Imran Khan for his statement regarding polio campaign but their own provincial govt has failed to secure poor polio workers!

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  • Aalia
    Dec 22, 2013 - 4:56AM

    I don’t see IK campaigning for polio in Fata!

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  • Sexton Blake
    Dec 22, 2013 - 5:36AM

    I agree with Anon that Dr Afridi has brought aid workers into disrepute.. Dr Afridi misused the high esteem in which medical doctors are normally held, and the fact that some high ranking people, particularly in America, refer to him as a hero does not help the situation. Another problem of which I have personal experience is that that some vaccines can cause serious health problems although I am led to believe that my particular problem was about one in ten thousand. Further, although Dr Afridi’s behavior was unforgivable he is history and we have to try and move on. Similarly, many people do put downs on IK, who in my view is attempting to solve problems rather than create them. For the last 12 years or so the greatest military powers on earth have been attempting to solve the Taliban/Pashtun situation in a way which satisfies their way of thinking, but have failed miserably. I personally do not know the answer to the current problems, but PTI/IK appear to be on the right track. After the dreadful, unworkable situation created by the Western powers, and previous Pakistan Governments, may I suggest that trying an alternative path may be the way to go? Polio is almost under control in Pakistan. Somehow, certain militants have to be convinced that it has to be eradicated, and this can only be done by negotiation. Obviously, there are other problems, but we have to start somewhere.

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