Policeman guarding polio workers shot in Karachi

A Pakistani policeman stands guard as health workers visit homes in Karachi during a polio vaccination campaign on March 9, 2014 (AFP Photo/Rizwan Tabassum)



Karachi (AFP) – Gunmen on Monday wounded a policeman who was guarding a polio vaccination team in Pakistan’s port city of Karachi, the latest in a series of attacks on the teams in the country.

The attack took place on the first day of a four-day local anti-polio campaign in the western neighbourhood of Orangi. Unidentified gunmen riding a motorbike opened fire at the team and then fled, police said.

“Two gunmen opened fire at the policeman who was on duty to guard the vaccinators,” Ali Asif, a senior police official in the area, told AFP, adding that the vaccination campaign in the area had now been postponed.

The policeman is critically ill after a bullet passed through his skull, Doctor Mohammad Abid in the city’s Abbasi Shaheed hospital told AFP.

Pakistan is one of only three countries where polio remains endemic. Attempts to stamp it out have been badly hit by opposition from militants and attacks on immunisation teams that have claimed 68 lives since December 2012.

The militants claim that polio vaccination is a front for espionage or a conspiracy to sterilise Muslims.

Apart from attacks on vaccination teams, Karachi is rife with criminal, ethnic, political and sectarian killings which claim hundreds of lives.

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