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Police officers protecting polio team shot dead in Mardan

Police officers protecting polio team shot dead in Mardan

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What happened: Two police constables Shakir and Syed Raza were shot and killed by unidentified assailants on Wednesday. They were assigned to protect a team of polio vaccination workers in the Mardan district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. According to the DPO, both policemen died on the spot and were shifted to the Mardan District Headquarters hospital for post-mortem. An investigation has been launched to search for the assailants that managed to escape.

Why did this happen?: The attack was launched two days after the federal government set in motion a nationwide drive to eradicate Polio. Pakistan and Afghanistan are the only two countries in the world where polio is still endemic. Despite this, attacks on vaccination campaigns are dangerously common especially in areas bordering Afghanistan. Legitimate fears have grown out of the political misuse of vaccinations by the West, such as the fake vaccination program run by the CIA in 2010. They offered free Hepatitis B vaccines to children in an attempt to collect DNA evidence linking to Osama bin Laden’s compound. As a result, an inherent fear of vaccinations has grown causing village elders and Taliban commanders to ban their administration on the account of it being ‘western conspiracy’ .

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