Three people were killed and 28 others injured in a suicide bombing during a polio vaccination campaign in south-west Pakistan, police said. The attack in the city of Quetta was aimed at a police patrol who had been deployed to protect the polio vaccination campaign. The fatalities are a police officer, a woman and a child, it said. Around 20 police officers were among the injured.
Ceasefire with Islamabad declared over
The Pakistani Taliban (TTP) claimed responsibility for the attack in Balochistan province. On Monday, the militant Islamists declared the ceasefire agreed with the government in Islamabad in May to be over and called on their fighters to carry out attacks across the country. The TTP is an umbrella organization of militant groups said to have several thousand fighters. Islamists repeatedly attack polio vaccination teams in Pakistan because they believe they are Western spies or suspect Western conspiracies against Muslims behind the campaigns. The vaccination teams are routinely accompanied by police officers in remote areas in the west of the country.
Pakistan is one of the few countries where polio (here a vaccination in Balochistan) breaks out again and again
Pakistan is one of the few countries in the world where there are still new transmissions of polio. After there was only one proven polio case there in 2021, the numbers rose again this year. It was only in November that the authorities in the South Asian country launched a new vaccination campaign against as
polio known infectious disease started.
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Pakistan’s President Arif Alvi condemned the attack. According to the state news agency APP, Sharif said vaccination teams across the country were doing their duty without caring about their lives. Eliminating the polio virus is one of the government’s top priorities.
sti/qu (dpa, rtr)