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Two cops guarding polio team killed in Quetta

Two female polio workers survive attack; Balochistan CM condemns unfortunate incident and seeks report

By Salman Ashraf
August 01, 2023

Police and rescue teams seen standing at the site where a polio team was attacked in Quetta, on August 1, 2023. — Reporter
Police and rescue teams seen standing at the site where a polio team was attacked in Quetta, on August 1, 2023. — Reporter

QUETTA: Two cops guarding a polio vaccination team were killed when unidentified armed men opened fire at them in Quetta's suburban area of Kili Nawa on the first day of the immunisation drive in Balochistan, police said on Tuesday. 

A seven-day-long anti-polio virus drive was launched today in Balochistan, with the target of immunising over 2.5 million children against the disease.

Extremist outfits have repeatedly targeted polio teams administering the crucial drops to children, with Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) also being involved in the attacks.

Police said that the volunteers — two women — in the polio vaccination teams remained safe but both the cops deployed at their security died on the spot.

Taking notice of the unfortunate incident, Balochistan Chief Minister Abdul Quddus Bizenjo condemned the attack and expressed grief over the martyrdom of the policemen.

The chief minister termed the incident a conspiracy against the healthy future of the children.

"Anti-national elements want to fail the polio campaign to fulfill their evil ambitions," he said while seeking a report on the matter.

He directed the authorities concerned to utilise all the available resources to catch the culprits involved in the attack.

The polio virus, which invades the nervous system and can cause irreversible paralysis within hours, spreads rapidly among children, especially in unsanitary conditions and areas where health care is limited.

The disease can only be prevented with vaccination, but efforts to eradicate it in Pakistan have been undermined by opposition from some conservative locals and extremists, who claim immunisation is a foreign ploy to sterilise Muslim children or a cover for Western spies.

It may be noted that Pakistan and neighbouring Afghanistan are the only two countries in the world that have still not achieved complete eradication of the disease.

In another bid for polio eradication, the government launched the anti-polio virus vaccination drive in Balochistan today, targeting over 2.5 million children to be immunised against the disease.

Over 11,500 teams are part of the vaccination drive which will continue for a week, while provision of security has also been ensured.

The government appeals the religious scholars, parents, teachers, and non-governmental organisations to play their role in making this drive a success.