KARACHI: At least seven policemen were shot dead by unidentified gunmen in two separate attacks during a po¬lio camapign in this Pakistani port city which has witnessed a spate of target killings.
Four policemen were killed while providing security to the polio vaccine team in Or¬angi. Three others were shot dead in another part of the area, police said. “They were eight assailants on four mo¬torcycles who first attacked a police mobile in which four po-licemen were on duty,” a police spokeswoman said.
“While fleeing after the target killings they also shot at three other policemen,” he said.
“The killers apparently were targeting the policemen and not the polio workers who were present at the scene of the first attack during the po¬lio immunisation drive that began today,” he said. Polio workers have long been target¬ed in the country by Islamist groups including the Taliban militants which claim that the polio immunisation drive is a front for espionage or a con¬spiracy to sterilise Muslims.
In January, at least 15 peo¬ple, including 12 policemen and a paramilitary soldier, were killed in a suicide bomb¬ing targeting polio workers in Quetta.
Pakistan and neighbour¬ing Afghanistan are the only two countries in the world where polio remains endemic.
Children in Pakistan’s Federal ly-Administered Tribal Areas cannot be vac¬cinated as the outlawed Taliban has banned the cam-paigns since June 2012.