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PESHAWAR: Unidentified motorcyclists opened fire and martyred a policeman deployed for the security of a polio team in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's Karak on Tuesday. Karak's District Police Officer (DPO) Irfanullah, while confirming the incident, said that a search operation had been launched in the area to arrest the culprits.

The police said the team was vaccinating children in the area when they were attacked. The martyred police constable was identified as Junaidullah, a resident of Mianki. He belonged to the Frontier Reserve Police.

A Levies officer was injured in another attack on the security team of polio workers in a village near Sheringal, an administrative unit of Upper Dir district.

A resident of Kando attacked the security team of the polio team with sticks and stones during an anti-polio campaign. Sources said the accused were arrested on the spot and handed over to Sheringal police.

Meanwhile, KP Inspector General of Police Sanaullah Abbasi also took notice of the incident and said that the official's killers will be caught soon. Abbasi said that there are few people who were against polio vaccination but added that they would be rooted out soon.

Polio health workers and law enforcement officials who are tasked with providing security have often been targeted by militants and miscreants. Pakistan and Afghanistan are the only two remaining countries in the world where polio is endemic after Nigeria which was declared free of polio virus last year.

A five-day polio vaccination campaign which started on January 11, will vaccinate over 40 million children under the age of five across the country. A supplementary dose of Vitamin A drops will also be administered to the children aged six to 59 months.

According to data issued by the National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) for Polio, around 285,000 polio frontline workers will visit parents and caregivers at their doorsteps, adhering to strict Covid-19 precautionary measures and protocols while vaccinating children. These measures will include wearing a mask, using hand sanitizers and maintaining a distance during vaccination.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021