PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government on Tuesday suspended the three-day anti-polio campaign after a young woman volunteer was killed and another injured when armed motorcyclists opened fire on an anti-polio vaccination team in Kaga Wala village in the jurisdiction of Badaber Police Station earlier in the day. The attack took place a few hours after the campaign was launched, an official said.
The district administration Peshawar suspended the three-day anti-polio campaign after meetings with the concerned bodies late Tuesday night. The WHO also directed its officials to suspend their field activities after the Kaga Wala attack.
A police official said the two women, Sharafata, 18, and Sumbul, 20, were administering anti-polio vaccine to the children below the age of five in Kaga Wala when two armed motorcyclists wearing black clothes opened fire on them near Shaheenao Tubewell.Both women received critical bullet injuries and were taken to the Lady Reading Hospital where Sharafata expired. Sumbul is also in critical condition.
Officials at the Badaber Police Station said the volunteers in the area had refused police security because they felt it could cause greater threat to the teams. After the attack the police launched search operation in the area and rounded up 14 suspects. A police sub-inspector Salim Khan suffered heart attack during the search operation and died.
President Asif Ali Zardari and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chief minister-designate Pervaiz Khattak condemned the attack on the anti-polio team.The anti-polio campaign had to be suspended on a number of occasions in the past due to the attacks in Peshawar, Karachi, Charsadda, Nowshera, Mardan, Swabi and other parts of the country. Only male volunteers are carrying out the anti-polio vaccination campaign in many tribal areas due to the threats.
Meanwhile, three persons were killed and 18 injured in a motorbike blast in Imamia Colony near the Gulbahar Police Station on Tuesday evening. The powerful blast was heard all over the city while windowpanes of nearby buildings were smashed due to its intensity.
The experts of the bomb disposal unit said around four kilograms of explosives were planted in a motorbike that was parked not far from a local Imambargah. The experts said the bomb was triggered with a remote-control device at around 8pm. “Three people were killed and 18 injured in the blast,” DC of Peshawar Javed Marwat told reporters at the Lady Reading Hospital. Emergency was declared at the hospital after the wounded were rushed there.
Two of those killed were identified as Gulshan and Zahir Abbas. Some of the injured included Arif, Sajid, Gul, Jafar Ali, Irfan, Hamayun Dad, Imdad Hussain, Sadiq Elahi, Shah Zaman, Faheem, Amjad Ali, Adil, Zahir Raheem, Khan Muhammad, Gul Siraj and Javed Ali.