A female polio worker was shot dead and one other wounded in a village on the outskirts of Peshawar, Pakistan. This is yet another blow to the already struggling polio eradication campaign in the country.
According to the police officials the workers were administering polio drops when they were attacked. WHO spokesman Maryam Younas has said that the program in Peshawar will remain suspended for the time being.
Almost all the countries of the world are polio free except Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria. And the reason behind the existence of the disease in these countries is more or less the same; the strong resistance offered by different Islamist groups.
Ridiculous ideologies and myths concerning polio among the clerics of these militant groups have led to the killings of innocent volunteers who offered their services to eliminate the menace of polio from these countries. The absurd beliefs include the notions that these vaccines have been prepared by Western forces to cause sterility in (Muslim) children.
Last year, the polio vaccination was suspended in Pakistan by the United Nations after several workers were killed by militants in December in different incidents. And now, the campaign is going to suffer yet again after the recent attack on the two women.
One can possibly hold the Taliban group responsible for the killing in Peshawar but it would be a little hard to understand why because just this month in Afghanistan, in a statement released by the leadership of Taliban, it was announced that the Afghan militant group finally decided to end their war against polio eradication in the countryas long as the workers and volunteers stick to Islamic traditions and there is absolutely no foreign involvement.
So either the people who shot these two women are not Taliban, or they are not the Afghan Taliban. But then again that’s for the authorities and the Pakistani government to investigate.