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Policeman guarding polio workers shot dead in Pakistan

Press Trust of India  |  Karachi 

A policeman accompanying a polio vaccine team was today shot dead in Pakistan's volatile region here by unidentified motorbike-borne assailants, the latest in a series of attacks on the teams struggling to contain the crippling disease.

Assistant Sub-Inspector (ASI) Tabassum Ali, deputed to provide security to a polio vaccine team on an immunisation drive in Banaras colony in the western Orangi Town was killed in the attack, police official Gul Nawaz told PTI.

The two assailants later fled the spot.

The polio workers immediately stopped their drive on the first day of a four-day campaign and were taken away from the area which is located in one of the poorest areas here.

Pakistan is one of only three countries where polio remains endemic, along with Afghanistan and Nigeria.

Efforts to eradicate the crippling disease have been seriously hampered by deadly targeting of vaccination teams in recent years by militants, who oppose the drives, claiming the polio drops cause infertility.

Attacks on immunisation teams have claimed 68 lives since December 2012. In January 2014, three workers were killed while in late 2012 five workers including four female workers were killed in Qayyumabad area.

The latest death has brought the total number of policemen shot dead in the city in the last three days to eight.

Yesterday, gunmen had opened fire on a police check post in North Nazimabad and killed two policemen on duty while on Saturday, five policemen were targeted in different areas of Pakistan's biggest city.

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First Published: Mon, January 19 2015. 21:25 IST