Three more polio workers shot in Pakistan; eight dead in 48 hours

Wed Dec 19, 2012 6:22am EST
 

Karachi police spokesman Imran Shaukat said teams were supposed to tell police of their movements but had not done so.

"There has to be better coordination between the health department and police," he said. "We have decided that we will be more forthcoming and contact polio team heads ourselves."

Minister Khokhar said the drive would resume as soon as security was in place.

"The teams go into every little neighborhood. You can understand that enormous resources are needed if we have to protect each and every team and worker, which we will have to now," he said.

On Wednesday, police said they killed two people and arrested 15 during raids connected to the shootings.

Authorities in the northern Khyber Paktunkhwa province, the capital of which is Peshawar, said they would not accept the U.N.'s recommendation to suspend the campaign.

"If we stopped the campaign it would encourage the forces opposing the polio vaccination," said provincial official Javed Marwat.

But their insistence the campaign continue angered health workers who said their colleagues told officials in Charsadda about threats before Wednesday's shootings. The officials insisted the vaccinations take place anyway.

Khokar said Taliban hostility to the campaign increased after it emerged that the CIA had used a fake vaccination campaign to try to gather information about Osama bin Laden, before he was found and killed in a Pakistani town last year.   Continued...

 
An anti-polio drive campaign worker, Hilal Khan (C), who was shot and badly injured by unidentified gunmen, lies at Lady Reading Hospital in Peshawar December 19, 2012. REUTERS/Khuram Parvez