A file photo policemen escorting a polio vaccination team in Pakistan (Photo by AAMIR QURESHI/AFP via Getty Images)
UNIDENTIFIED gunmen shot dead a police officer escorting a team of polio workers in northwest Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province on Monday (2), the second such incident in two days.
The unknown gunmen came on a motorcycle when the officer was joining the polio workers in the tribal district of Dera Ismail Khan, bordering South Waziristan, police said.
A search operation was underway to arrest the killers, they said.
The attack took place a day after gunmen fired at a police constable in the Daudzai area of Peshawar district and fled the scene. The policeman was returning home after being with a polio team when he came under fire, police said.
Polio vaccination workers and law enforcement officials who are tasked with providing security have often been targeted by militants in Pakistan.
Last week, the federal government announced a nationwide five-day polio immunisation drive from August 2 to inoculate 23 million children against the crippling disease.
Prime minister Imran Khan on June 24 expressed hope that Pakistan would become polio-free next year.
Taking to Twitter, Khan said only one case of the disease had been reported this year so far, adding: “We will eradicate polio completely in coming yr.”
Pakistan and neighbouring Afghanistan are the only two remaining countries in the world where polio is endemic after Nigeria was declared free of the poliovirus last year.
The Pakistan government had suspended the anti-polio drive and post-campaign evaluation in the past following an increasing number of attacks on polio workers in different parts of the country.
Militants claim that polio vaccines cause infertility.