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3,000 policemen to be deployed in Pak for polio campaign

Syed Qaim Ali Shah

Karachi :  At least 3,000 policemen will be deployed in the Pakistan’s southern Sindh province for security and protection of the polio eradication teams which will begin a four-day campaign from next month.

A senior police official said the Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah has given special instructions to the Inspector General of police to ensure the security of the polio vaccination teams which will work in the province during four-day campaign to eradicate polio held from November 3 to 6.

“The decision came at a meeting held yesterday to review the security arrangements for the polio eradication drive in the province,” Munir Sheikh said.

Polio eradication teams were attacked earlier in the province and its capital city of Karachi by militants opposed to the anti-polio vaccination drive.

Sheikh said the Chief Minister had made it clear at the meeting that he wanted full security and protection for the vaccination teams and provision all facilities like food and transport for them.

In some terror attacks on the polio vaccination teams three polio workers including two women were shot and killed in Karachi’s Qayyumabad area last year. A policeman on security duty with a vaccination team was also shot dead by armed militants this year.

In December 2012, four lady health workers were killed in a similar attack while on an anti-polio drive in the Landhi, Orangi and Baldia town areas of the city.

A local official of the UN was also attacked in a similar incident in Sohrab Goth area and was injured. After these incidents anti-polio drives were suspended by the health authorities for lack of proper security for the vaccination teams.

Pakistan is yet to become a polio free country and few cases have emerged this year in the Sindh, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhawa provinces.

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