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Policeman guarding polio workers shot dead Panic against polio vaccination created under planned conspiracy: Yousafzai

Tariq Saeed

Peshawar

The controversy gripping the Polio Eradication campaign in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa further deepened on Tuesday when unknown miscreants shot dead a Police officer deputed on the Polio vaccination duty in Bannu. On the other hand the law enforcers arrested a person and booked around a dozen others for unleashing propaganda against the Polio drops and inciting masses to set on fire a health facility in the outskirts of provincial metropolis on Monday.
Hundreds of charged people/parents, it may be recalled, had torched a Basic Health Unit in Mashukhel village after hundreds of children fell ill allegedly after dispensing Polio drops, an incident the authorities dubbed as drama by certain elements to frustrate Polio campaign.
Reports reaching here said unknown armed men Tuesday shot dead Assistant Sub-inspector (ASI) Imran, who was deployed at a basic health unit in Bannu to provide security to polio workers during a province-wide anti-polio campaign. According DPO Yasir Afridi the firing incident occurred within the jurisdiction of the Domail police station. He said that assailants fled the crime scene on a motorbike adding the police official was on his way to duty, when he was attacked. The CTD was investigating the incident.
KP Chief Minister Mahmood Khan has also taken notice of the incident and asked for a report on the incident from the provincial inspector general of police. Khan said that they share the pain of the victim’s family and added that the suspects will promptly be brought to justice. In the meanwhile the police have arrested on Tuesday a man on charges of sabotaging an anti-polio vaccination drive in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Mashokhel village.
Nazar Muhammad has been accused of spreading misinformation about the anti-polio campaign. He reportedly instructed some children to pretend that they were suffering from headache after getting polio vaccines. Police also registered First Information Report (FIR) against 12 individuals who were behind the propaganda against the polio campaign in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. “Police have lodged an “FIR against 12 individuals who were behind the Peshawar Polio Drama. Raids are being conducted to get all of them arrested. I am in touch with Peshawar Police Chief & following up on all updates. In shaAllah not a single one will be spared.” The PM focal person on polio eradication in Pakistan, Babar Atta tweeted Tuesday.
The alleged conspiracy to defame the anti-polio campaign in Peshawar, officials claimed, was exposed late night on Monday when a video of a man surfaced on social media. In the video, a man could be seen employing children to prove that polio vaccines were defected. He administers children polio drops, following which the children are asked to pretend to be fainted.
The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Minister for Information Shaukat Ali Yousafzai has also strongly condemned the incident on Tuesday saying that keeping children away from anti-polio vaccination was tantamount to terrorism. Speaking to media, he termed the spread of polio virus as a “national issue” and requested people not to make a political issue out of it. He said if one child is paralyzed owing to the polio virus then the entire family is affected by it.