News / Asia

Pakistani Clerics Condemn Attacks on Polio Workers

Villagers look at the body of health worker Hilal Khan, who was killed by gunmen in Wahidgari, outside of Peshawar, Pakistan, Dec. 20, 2012.
Villagers look at the body of health worker Hilal Khan, who was killed by gunmen in Wahidgari, outside of Peshawar, Pakistan, Dec. 20, 2012.
VOA News
An alliance of Pakistani clerics on Thursday condemned the attacks on U.N.-backed anti-polio teams in Pakistan, as the death toll from the violence rose to nine.

Hafiz Tahir Ashrafi, head of the moderate Pakistan Ulema Council, said in an interview with VOA's Urdu service that his alliance will pass a resolution praising everyone working in Pakistan to eradicate polio.

“Girls [female health workers] have been attacked. Polio workers have been attacked.  We will condemn these crimes during Friday prayers all over the country and pass a resolution praising the girls and those working for [the] eradication of polio.”

Most of the victims have been women.  

  • A Pakistani schoolgirl, who was displaced with her family from Pakistan's tribal areas due to fighting between militants and the army, receives a polio vaccine from a health worker in the outskirts of Islamabad, Pakistan, January 31, 2013.
  • Pakistani schoolgirls listen to their teacher, not seen, as a health worker visits their school to give them polio vaccines in the outskirts of Islamabad, Pakistan, January 31, 2013.
  • Pakistani schoolchildren look for their shoes while other enter a classroom as a health worker visits their school to give polio vaccines, in a poor neighborhood on the outskirts of Islamabad, Pakistan, January 31, 2013.
  • Pakistani relatives and mourners of a polio worker, who was killed in a roadside bomb, pray next to his body, in Parachinar, Pakistan, January 31, 2013.
  • A policeman stands guard as Neila gives polio vaccine drops to a child at a Christian colony slum in Islamabad, Pakistan, December 20, 2012.
  • A polio worker gives polio vaccine drops to a child in Lahore, Pakstian, December 20, 2012.
  • A policeman accompanies polio workers during their anti-polio drive mission in Lahore, Pakistan, December 20, 2012.
  • A health worker visits Lahore's slums to administer the polio vaccine to infants, Pakistan, December 19, 2012.
  • Nishat gives polio vaccine drops to a girl in Lahore, Pakistan, December 20, 2012.
  • A girl shows a finger marked after being immunized in Lahore, Pakistan, December 19, 2012.

The ninth victim of the attacks died on Thursday.  Pakistani health official Janbaz Afridi said Mohammad Hilal was shot in the head Wednesday in the northwestern city of Peshawar.  Hundreds of mourners attended his funeral.

Hilal was part of a nationwide polio vaccination campaign in Pakistan that was suspended on Wednesday by U.N. officials following a series of attacks over three days that left eight volunteers dead.

The decision came after gunmen opened fire on three vaccination teams scattered across northwestern Pakistan Wednesday.  Earlier in the week, attacks in Peshawar and Karachi killed six people and wounded several others.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attacks.

But the Pakistani Taliban has prevented such programs in the past.  The militant group says polio vaccination efforts are a cover for spying, and that they are meant to sterilize Muslims or are dangerous for children.

The Taliban began voicing opposition to Western-backed health programs after a Pakistani doctor was imprisoned for helping U.S. intelligence agents run a fake hepatitis vaccination program aimed at locating then-fugitive al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden.

In July, armed men killed a Pakistani doctor working for the World Health Organization on a national immunization campaign.

Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria are the only three countries were polio remains endemic.

You May Like

Brutality Eroding IS Financial Support

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper says IS's penchant for publicizing beheadings, other brutal forms of punishment hurts group’s bottom line More

Studies: Climate Change a Factor in Disasters in Syria, California

The studies point to the possibility of clear and present dangers from a threat often considered to be far in the future More

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials and human rights organizations assert that Pakistani authorities are using deadly attack at school in Peshawar as pretext to push out Afghan refugees More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Kerry Seeks Assurances of Russian Non-Interference in Ukrainei
X
March 03, 2015 3:11 AM
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has told his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, that his country could face further consequences to what he called its “already strained economy” if Moscow does not fully comply with a cease-fire in Ukraine. The two met, on Monday, on the sidelines of a U.N. Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, where Kerry outlined human rights violations in Russian-annexed Crimea and eastern Ukraine. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports from Geneva.
Video

Video Kerry Seeks Assurances of Russian Non-Interference in Ukraine

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has told his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, that his country could face further consequences to what he called its “already strained economy” if Moscow does not fully comply with a cease-fire in Ukraine. The two met, on Monday, on the sidelines of a U.N. Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, where Kerry outlined human rights violations in Russian-annexed Crimea and eastern Ukraine. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports from Geneva.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Prepare to Defend Mariupol

Despite the ongoing ceasefire in Ukraine, soldiers in the city of Mariupol fear that pro-Russian separatists may be getting ready to attack. The separatists must take or encircle the city if they wish to gain land access to Crimea, which was annexed by Russia early last year. But Ukrainian forces, many of them volunteers, say they are determined to defend it. Patrick Wells reports from Mariupol.
Video

Video Moscow Restaurants Suffer in Bad Economy, Look for Opportunity

As low oil prices and Western sanctions force Russia's economy into recession, thousands of Moscow restaurants are expected to close their doors. Restaurant owners face rents tied to foreign currency, while rising food prices mean Russians are spending less when they dine out. One entrepreneur in Moscow has started a dinner kit delivery service for those who want to cook at home to save money but not skimp on quality. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video US, Cuba Report Progress in Latest Talks to Restore Ties

The United States and Cuba say they have made progress in the second round of talks on restoring diplomatic relations more than 50 years after breaking off ties. Delegations from both sides met in Washington on Friday to work on opening embassies in Havana and Washington and iron out key obstacles to historic change. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas reports from the State Department.
Video

Video Presidential Hopefuls Battle for Conservative Hearts and Minds

One after another, presumptive Republican presidential contenders auditioned for conservative support this week at the Conservative Political Action Conference held outside Washington. The rhetoric was tough as a large field of potential candidates tried to woo conservative support with red-meat attacks on President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress. VOA Political Columnist Jim Malone takes a look.
Video

Video NYC's Restaurant Week: An Economic Boom in Fine Dining

New Yorkers take pride in setting world trends — in fashion, the arts and fine dining. The city’s famous biannual Restaurant Week plays a significant role in a booming tourism industry that sustains 359,000 jobs and generates $61 billion in yearly revenue. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports.
Video

Video Brookhaven at Cutting Edge of US Energy Research

Issues like the Keystone XL pipeline, fracking and instability in the Middle East are driving debate in the U.S. about making America energy independent. Recently, the American Energy Innovation Council urged Congress and the White House to make expanded energy research a priority. One beneficiary of increased energy spending would be the Brookhaven National Lab, where clean, renewable, efficient energy is the goal. VOA's Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Southern US Cities Preserve Civil Rights Heritage to Boost Tourism

There has been a surge of interest in the American civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s, thanks in part to the Hollywood motion picture "Selma." Five decades later, communities in the South are embracing the dark chapters of their past with hopes of luring tourism dollars. VOA's Chris Simkins reports.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More