Pakistan: 2 policemen killed as gunmen open fire on anti-polio team

Members of the polio vaccination team escaped without injuries

Pakistan policemen killed Hospital staff and relatives transport the body of a police officer at a hospital in Quetta, Pakistan | AP

Two policemen got killed as armed men on motorcycles opened fire on police escorting a polio vaccination team in Quetta on Tuesday. The gunmen fled from the place.

According to police, the deceased were identified as constables Shaukat Ali and Syed Muhammad. The Dawn reported that the attack happened on the very first day of a week-long campaign to administer polio vaccination to 2.6 million children under five years of age in Balochistan.

Members of the polio team did not suffer any injury, local police chief Asif Marwat said. The polio campaign in Nawa Killi and the surrounding areas has been suspended, the publication reported. 

Balochistan Chief Minister Mir Abdul Qudoos Bizenjo has sought a report on the attack. “The negative propaganda against the polio campaign and the malicious intentions of the anti-state elements will be thwarted,” Dawn quoted Bizenjo saying. 

No one has claimed responsibility, but Pakistan's anti-polio campaigns are regularly marked by violence. Islamic militants often target polio teams and police assigned to protect them, falsely claiming that the vaccination campaigns are a Western conspiracy to sterilise children.

Since January, Pakistan has reported only one polio case, raising hopes that the country is close to eradicating the disease. Pakistan and Afghanistan are the last two countries in which polio has not been eliminated.

(With PTI inputs.)


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