KHAR: A senior government official was killed on Friday when a remote-controlled roadside bomb exploded in Salarzai, a village about 50 kilometres northeast of Khar, the main town in Bajur Agency, when he was returning from a jirga (tribal council) to
convince people to immunise their children against polio, local administration officials said.
The blast killed Dr Abdul Ghani Khan, chief surgeon at the main government hospital in Bajur, at the scene and injured three others in his car, the officials said. One of the injured is critical, they added. “The surgeon was killed and three others injured in the blast in the Salarzai area at 3:30pm.”
Dr Amir Khan, medical superintendent (MS) at Khar District Headquarters Hospital, said that residents of Mullah Said Banda in the Salarzai area had earlier refused to get their children vaccinated against polio and added that Dr Ghani was visiting the area to allay misperceptions about the vaccination. “The locals had also warned polio teams against visiting the area,” the MS said.
Paramedic Hazrat Jamal, who is one of the three injured in the explosion, said that the residents of Mullah Said Banda were against the polio campaign. “As soon as we reached there, an armed prayer leader warned us against visiting the area. Some locals said: “˜On one hand, our enemy (a reference to the United States) is bombing us for no reason while on the other hand you are coming here disguised as polio campaigners to spread vulgarity,” he told Daily Times at the hospital.
No group has claimed responsibility for the explosion, but local tribal militants are suspected to be behind the attack. The Friday”s attack is the second since February 5 when a pro-government elder was killed in a similar fashion.