This is no surprise. As I noted yesterday, last summer a Pakistani Muslim cleric said that polio vaccinations were un-Islamic. And you know what happens to un-Islamic things in Pakistan.
PESHAWAR, Pakistan “” Three workers in a polio eradication campaign were shot Wednesday in Pakistan, and two of them were killed, the latest in an unprecedented string of attacks over the past three days that has partially halted the U.N.-backed campaign.
The United Nations in Pakistan has pulled all staff involved in the immunization campaign off the streets, spokesman Michael Coleman said….
Government officials were surprised by the violence, saying they had not expected attacks in areas far from the Taliban’s strongholds and they would have to change tactics in the health campaign.
“We didn’t expect such attacks in Karachi,” said Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar, minister for human rights, who oversees the polio campaign. He was referring to the southern commercial hub where there have been attacks this week.
“In far flung areas where the threats are more pronounced, we have been providing polio teams security.”
Wednesday saw four separate attacks. In the northwestern district of Charsadda, men on motorbikes shot dead a woman and her driver, police and health officials said.
Hours earlier, a male health worker was shot and badly wounded in the nearby provincial capital of Peshawar. He was in critical condition, said a doctor at the Lady Reading Hospital where he is being treated.
Four other women health workers were shot at but not hit in nearby Nowshera, said Jan Baz Afridi, deputy head of the Expanded Programme on Immunisation. Two women health workers were shot at in Dwasaro village in Charsadda, police said.
It was not clear who was behind the violence.
Many Islamists, including Taliban militants, have long opposed the campaign. Some say it aims to sterilize Muslims, while one militant commander said it could not continue unless attacks by U.S. drone aircraft stopped.
The Taliban have repeatedly threatened health workers involved in the campaign. Some workers said they received calls telling them to stop working with the “infidels” just before the attacks.
But a spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban, Ihsanullah Ihsan, told Reuters his group was not involved in the violence….
Khokar said Taliban hostility to the campaign increased after it emerged that the CIA had used a fake vaccination campaign to try to gather information about Osama bin Laden, before he was found and killed in a Pakistani town last year.