ISLAMABAD - Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan has been threatened by militants after criticizing attacks on polio vaccination teams, his party said Thursday.
Imran Khan declared polio workers as soldiers of Islam and said those attacking them were not doing any justice to humanity, Islam or Pakistanis. Pakistan is one of three countries in the world where polio remains endemic and efforts to stamp it out have been badly affected by attacks on health workers inoculating children. Imran Khan received a threat from Ansarul Mujahedeen over his remarks over anti-polio campaign. The Khyber Pakhtunkhawa province, particularly the tribal regions is a hotspot for the highly infectious crippling disease. Last year the Pakistani Taliban banned polio vaccinations in the tribal region of Waziristan, alleging the campaign was a cover for espionage.
PTI leads the government in the of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and on Wednesday, Imran Khan pledged to spearhead a fresh anti-polio drive, kicking it off by administering drops to children at a hospital himself.
Up to 2.3 million children in nine districts will be targeted in the immunisation drive, local officials have said, after 62 polio cases were reported from tribal areas and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa this year.