Senseless killing

 
September 24, 2020

There seems to be little immediate logic behind the deliberate shooting to death of a health worker in the Mir Ali area of North Waziristan on Monday. Naheed Gul was returning from the Basic Health...

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There seems to be little immediate logic behind the deliberate shooting to death of a health worker in the Mir Ali area of North Waziristan on Monday. Naheed Gul was returning from the Basic Health Unit where she worked when unidentified persons shot her dead in what is seen as a targeted attack. The reasons are unclear although the death is being linked to an anti-polio campaign the government hopes to start in the North Waziristan area in the coming weeks.

In Pakistan, polio is not only a disease that has crippled millions of people over the decades and claimed lives, but also a problem that has led to the death of more than 160 polio workers or their guards since 2012. However, for now there is no direct link between this death and polio. The deceased woman was simply killed on her way home and found on the roadside some hours later. The murder of Naheed Gul is a tragedy. More than any other area of the country, the former tribal areas, including North Waziristan need people able to care for the health of citizens. The former Fata areas have one of the lowest health person to citizen profile in the country. There are too few health workers to care for the people there. Women in particular need care from lady health workers who can visit their homes and tend to their needs as well as those of small children. In this case, the killing of Naheed Gul is especially merciless; it victimises all the people of the area and naturally deters others from working in the same field. It cannot be emphasised enough that lady health workers like the late Naheed Gul are a ray of hope for the people of this otherwise marginalised areas. It is disturbing if they are to be attacked merely for being women out doing their jobs. It is essential that the persons behind the killing be brought to justice. Only if this happens will there be any deterrence against further such murders.

This is important given that another woman was killed in similar targeted fashion in the same area only days before this murder. Only if we can penalise those behind such crimes will it be possible to put an end to them. This should happen over the coming months, so that justice is quick and delivered as efficiently as possible. The long delays in justice and the frequent failures in bringing the culprits to justice only encourage others to walk down the same path.



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