PESHAWAR: At least seven people were killed and eleven injured on Wednesday in a bomb attack on a police van taking officers to guard polio vaccination teams, officials said.
The blast in Sir Dheri, some 30 kilometres north of Peshawar came a day after gunmen killed three polio workers in Karachi. Police said that up to five kilogrammes of explosives were used in the bomb, which was rigged to a bicycle and detonated remotely.
"Seven people including six police personnel and a child were killed in a bomb blast in Sir Dheri," senior police official Shafiullah told AFP. Another senior police official, Sayed Khan, told AFP the van was carrying personnel to a health centre, from where they were to accompany polio vaccination teams for security. "We will continue providing security to polio workers as scheduled by the provincial government," he said. An official of the district administration confirmed that the police team was on its way to provide security to polio workers when it came under attack.
Wednesday was the second day of an anti-polio drive in the area, senior local administration official Tahir Zafar told AFP. Pakistan is one of only three countries in the world where polio is still endemic, along with Afghanistan and Nigeria. Militant groups see vaccination campaigns as a cover for espionage, and there are also long-running rumours about polio drops causing infertility. According to the World Health Organisation, Pakistan recorded 91 cases of polio last year, up from 58 in 2012.
Meanwhile, miscreants attacked an anti-polio team in Bhakkar District on Wednesday. According to the local police, the incident took place in Bahal area of Bhakkar. Unidentified miscreants on motorcycles attacked the vehicle of an anti-polio team with sticks and iron rods. They shattered the windows of the vehicle and injured a lady health supervisor and her driver. Both were shifted to a nearby hospital while the assailants fled.
On Tuesday, gunmen killed four health workers taking part in a polio vaccination drive in Karachi and Mansehra. After the attacks, the provincial polio workers' association said it was halting operations across Sindh. Men on motorbikes opened fire on polio teams in two separate incidents in the Qayyumabad neighbourhood of the city. The attacks came just days after the World Health Organisation warned that Peshawar was the world's "largest reservoir" of the poliovirus.
Meanwhile, minutes after three anti-polio workers were shot dead in Karachi, one campaigner was killed in brutal attack in Mansehra District of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Miscreants on a motorbike fired on an anti-polio team in Sher Garh area of Mansehra, killing a male health worker on the spot. Pakistan is one of only three countries in the world where polio remains endemic, along with Afghanistan and Nigeria. Efforts to eradicate it have been seriously hampered by the deadly targeting of vaccination teams in recent years.
Moreover, funeral prayers of six policemen, killed in early morning blast, were offered in Charsadda on Wednesday.
Top police officials, families of victims and large number of people participated in prayers offered in Police Lines here amid tight security.
Later on, bodies were shifted to their respective native town for burial.
Meanwhile, KPK government announced compensation money of Rs. 500,000 for each deceased policeman and student killed in blast while Rs. 200,000 would be given to those injured in Wednesday attack.
Last Updated: Tuesday, 28 January 2014 15:38
Category: SOUTH EAST ASIA
VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Francis is considering a trip to South Korea in August to meet with young Catholics, a Vatican spokesman said on Wednesday, in what would be his first visit to Asia where membership of the Church is increasing.
Father Federico Lombardi said the pontiff was also weighing visits to the Philippines and Sri Lanka, though these would not take place this year.
Catholics make up roughly 10 percent of the population of South Korea, which was visited twice by Pope John Paul II, and where the number of Catholics has grown by around 3 percent per annum for the past 11 years, according to Church figures.
The pope has made only one trip internationally so far, visiting Brazil in July, but is due to visit sites in the Holy Land in May. A visit to Asia would be his third international trip.
Lombardi said Francis had received an invitation to visit Bosnia's capital Sarajevo but did not say a trip was planned.
Last Updated: Monday, 27 January 2014 09:39
DUBAI: Thousands of anti-regime protesters have held a demonstration in northeastern Bahrain, calling for the democratization of the Persian Gulf country.
The pro-democracy demonstration, dubbed People’s Cause, was held in the village of Sitra on Friday.
Last Updated: Friday, 28 February 2014 18:38
BEIRUT: Nearly 1,400 people have been killed in Syria since infighting erupted among foreign-backed militant groups in the Arab country.
The so-called Observatory for Human Rights said on Thursday that clashes between the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and other militant groups have claimed 1,395 lives since January 3.
The opposition source added that 760 of those killed were foreign-sponsored militants who had joined the so-called Free Syrian Army against ISIL militants.
Some 190 civilians were also killed in the deadly infighting, the observatory said.
It noted that the figure also included 426 ISIL militants and the remaining 19 were unidentified.
Last Updated: Friday, 28 February 2014 18:26