Home » Polio Workers and Levies Personnel Attacked in Balochistan

Polio Workers and Levies Personnel Attacked in Balochistan

by Mohammed Ahmed

In a troubling development, two Levies personnel and two female workers of an anti-polio campaign were injured in an attack by protesters in Chaman, Balochistan on Monday. The attack coincided with the launch of a five-day nationwide anti-polio campaign aimed at vaccinating over 16.5 million children under the age of five.

Chaman Deputy Commissioner (DC) Raja Athar Abbas reported that leaders of the ongoing Chaman protest assaulted the polio team and attempted to steal weapons from the police and Levies officials. The incident left two Levies personnel, one police official, and two female workers injured.

DC Abbas explained that the protesters, while patrolling various areas, began removing the health workers and their security personnel. Tensions escalated following a heated exchange with Levies personnel, resulting in weapons being snatched from the officers.

In response to the violence, DC Abbas stated that a case would be registered against the accused under anti-terrorism provisions. “Protesting is a constitutional right, but if violence is resorted to, the state will take action as per the law,” he emphasized. He assured that the polio campaign would continue with additional personnel being sent to the area and legal action taken against those obstructing the campaign.

Sadiq Achakzai, a leader of the Chaman protest committee, asserted that protesters are patrolling various areas of the city. “No government campaign will be allowed in any area until our demands are met,” he declared. The protest, ongoing for the past seven months, is driven by traders and daily wagers opposing the border closure and the imposition of a one-document regime for movement between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Achakzai stressed that the protest committee does not wish to harm polio workers or security personnel who are not part of the door-to-door campaign and requested them to refrain from participating in the government’s anti-polio campaign.

Balochistan government spokesperson Shahid Rind condemned the attack on the polio workers, confirming that the district administration is taking action against those involved. “No one will be given the right to take the law into their own hands,” he stated, adding that the accused would be booked under anti-terrorism provisions.

Balochistan Home Minister Ziaullah Langau also condemned the attack, urging the police to arrest those responsible. “Those attacking the polio team are enemies of our children’s safe future,” he said. Langau highlighted that extremist elements have been involved in attacks on anti-polio campaign workers, aiming to create chaos and harass people through such actions. He assured that the injured are receiving the best health facilities.

The attack follows the recent emergence of the year’s fourth polio case, involving a 30-month-old child in Sindh, the first such case in the province, with the previous three cases reported from Balochistan.

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