Cop guarding polio team martyred in Bannu

A cop was martyred in a gun attack by suspected militants while escorting a team of polio vaccinators in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's Bannu area on Wednesday. 

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 incident took place in the jurisdiction of Miryan Police Station.

They said that the martyred cop, identified as police constable Kamran Khan was deputed to provide security to the polio health workers on child vaccination duty during the ongoing immunisation campaign against the crippling disease.

The attackers managed to escape from the spot after the attack, while the body of the slain cop was taken to a hospital for autopsy and later to the police lines for funeral prayer.

Bannu Commissioner Pervez Sabatkhel, Regional Police Officer (RPO) Qasim Ali Khan, District Police Officer (DPO) Iftikhar Shah, relatives, and people from different walks of life attended the funeral prayer.

Later the martyred cop was laid to rest at his ancestral graveyard in Lalozai Surani village.

Meanwhile, RPO Qasim Ali Khan visited the site of the incident along with DPO Iftikhar Shah and SP Investigation Mujeeb-ur-Rehman. He ordered an investigation into the attack to hunt down the terrorists behind the attack.

The attack comes as second in a month as two cops deployed on the polio vaccination team's security in a suburban area of Quetta were martyred on August 1 during the immunisation drive in Balochistan.

The tribal areas of both KP and Balochistan have long faced resistance against the government-led polio eradication campaigns as the government struggles to sweep the virus out of the country.

The teams participating in the anti-polio virus vaccination drives have suffered countless attacks resulting in the deaths of policemen and polio workers, to discourage the efforts for getting rid of the incurable disease.

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.

The last case of polio in Pakistan was reported from the same area, Bannu, earlier this month. It was the second case reported from Bannu this year.

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.

ePaper - Nawaiwaqt