7 slain anti-polio workers mourned in Pakistan
SWABI, Pakistan — Hundreds of villagers in northwest Pakistan turned out on Wednesday to bury five female teachers and two health workers who were gunned down a day earlier by militants in what may have been the latest in a series of attacks targeting anti-polio efforts in the country.
The seven had worked at a community center in the town of Swabi that included a primary school and a medical clinic that vaccinated children against polio. Some militants oppose the vaccination campaigns, accusing health workers of acting as spies for the United States and alleging the vaccine is intended to make Muslim children sterile.
As mourners carried the coffins through the town for burial, family and friends expressed horror that such an attack had struck their community.
“I told her many times at home, ‘Be careful as we are poor people' and ‘Take care of yourself all the time,'” said Fazal Dad, whose daughter was among the seven killed. “And always in response she said, ‘Father, if I am not guilty, no one can harm me.'”
Group members were on their way home on Tuesday from the community center where they were employed by a nongovernmental organization when their vehicle was attacked. The four militants on motorcycles spared the young son of one of the women who was riding in the van, pulling him from the vehicle before spraying it with bullets.
The driver survived and was being treated in a Peshawar hospital.
There has been no claim of responsibility, and police have not made any arrests.
The director of the NGO said he suspected the attack might have been retribution for the group's work in helping vaccinate Pakistani children against polio. Javed Akhtar said the community group has suspended its operations throughout the province.
Despite the killings, polio vaccination workers will be out in force on Saturday in four areas in the northwest considered at high risk for the disease in an effort to keep it from spreading.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- 500 U.S. troops en route to Nepal with aid
- Yemen city crippled by siege, bombing; civilians isolated
- Ex-Gitmo detainees protest in Uruguay
- Employees of Mercer County-based manufacturer among missing in Nepal
- Mexicans pin hopes on anti-corruption measures approved by Congress
- United States aided rebels in Caucasus, Russian President Putin claims
- 293 rescued in Nigeria are not ‘Chibok girls’
- ‘We are hungry:’ Aid reaches epicenter, Nepal toll tops 5,000
- Iraqi ambassador to U.S.: Global rejection of ISIS crucial
- Iran touts gulf shipping freedom