Five cops on polio duty martyred, 22 injured in Bajaur explosion

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BAJAUR: A bomb blast targeting a police vehicle left at least five police personnel martyred and 22 others injured in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Mamund tehsil of Bajaur district on Monday, Geo News reported.

Police said the personnel were deployed for the security of polio vaccination teams when the blast took place. They feared that more casualties could take place.

They said bodies and injured were shifted to Khar hospital. An emergency had been declared in the hospital and blood donation was sought for treatment of the wounded personnel, police added.

The police spokesperson said all the casualties were police personnel. 

Caretaker Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Syed Arshad Hussain Shah condemned the blast and expressed grief over the loss of lives. He also condoled with the victims’ families.

Shah directed the district administration to immediately provide health facilities to the injured.

“Such cowardly attacks will not dampen the police’s spirit. KP Police have given numerous sacrifices for the protection of people’s lives and properties,” he said adding that the martyrs’ heirs would not be left alone and they would be assisted through every possible means.

Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Senator Sherry Rehman also condemned the attack on the police officials deployed for the security of the anti-polio team in Bajaur.

Taking to X, she said the PPP stands in solidarity with the families of the five personnel martyred in the explosion.

“Terrorists have attacked not only the police but also the health of our children. An attack on the security of the anti-polio team should not be tolerated under any circumstances, it is directly related to the health of our children,” she said.

Sherry said the miscreants did not want the complete eradication of polio from the country. The terrorists involved in the incident should be arrested immediately and punished severely, she demanded.

On December 1 of last year, a policeman was killed when militants attacked a polio vaccination team, AFP had reported. The incident occurred in Malik Din Khel, part of the former tribal border region.

“Two gunmen riding a motorbike opened fire on policemen guarding a two-member polio vaccination team,” district police chief Saleem Khan Kulachi had told AFP.

Pakistan and neighbouring Afghanistan are the only two countries where polio remains endemic and vaccination teams are frequently targeted by militants.

All preparations have been made for the seven-day nationwide anti-polio campaign starting Monday (today).

Karachi Commissioner Muhammad Salim Rajput has directed polio workers to achieve a 100 per cent target in vaccinating children under five years of age with polio drops for at least the next five years. He stressed that unless every child receives these drops, the threat of the polio virus spread will persist.

Efforts have also been made to persuade parents who refuse vaccination for their children. Comprehensive plans are being made, and lists of children and their parents, along with reports on barriers to vaccination, have been prepared.

Those refusing vaccination have been identified, and field workers are actively involved to ensure no child is deprived of polio drops, said the commissioner. Meetings have been held with community mobilisers from over 450 areas in District East and District Central. They were reminded that achieving a 100 per cent target for vaccinating children against polio over the next five years across the country is crucial. The officials emphasised the necessity of parental cooperation to ensure no child misses out on polio drops.

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