Policeman escorting polio team shot dead in Nazimabad

A grieving relative of the policeman gunned down on Monday.—Online

KARACHI: Gunmen shot dead a policeman deputed for the security of volunteers administering polio drops to children in Nazimabad on Monday, police said.

Authorities, however, termed the incident a targeted attack on police and not on the polio team.

The police said that the 22-year-old police constable, Shahmir Jhandir, was standing alone near a bakery in Nazimabad No 3 at around 11.15am when two men riding a motorcycle emerged there, fired shots from a close range and rode away.

The policeman, who was wearing a bulletproof vest, was shot in the head and doctors declared him dead when he was brought to the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital.

No one has so far claimed responsibility for the attack.

“The policeman was assigned for the security of a polio team but it was not an attack on the health workers,” said Inspector General of Police Ghulam Hyder Jamali.

“It was [part of] the targeted killing of police.”

He said that over 800 suspected criminals, including militants, had been killed in encounters in the last year and the law-enforcers had managed to “crush” the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan in the city.

“We are focusing on multiple angles of the recent attacks on policemen, but there are strong indications that [elements] other than the TTP were involved in these attacks,” said the IGP. “We believe that people other than the TTP are involved in it [Monday’s killing].”

He said that a probe into the recent killings of three policemen in Lyari and Malir showed that “gangsters” were involved and later on “two or three suspected cop killers” were killed in encounters.

Liaquatabad SP Mohammed Ehsan Malik said that the victim policeman was alone when he was targeted as other policemen were busy providing security to the polio team in another street.

Monday was the last day of the three-day polio campaign and additional security was provided to other teams following the murder of the policeman and the campaign continued, the SP added.

However, the special secretary of health department, Dr Khalid Sheikh, told Dawn that the polio campaign was suspended for the day in the union council where the incident occurred on the directives of the deputy commissioner-central.

He added that the polio team would start administering drops to the children in the area on Tuesday (today).

The victim policeman was recently recruited in the police department. He was being trained at the police training centre in Saeedabad from where he was called to perform security duty for the polio team. He hailed from Naushahro Feroze.

On Jan 19, armed men attacked another policeman, ASI Tabassum Ali Abro, when a polio team was vaccinating children in a house in Orangi Town. He was also shot in the head but survived.

At that time, Karachi-West SSP Azfar Mahesar said the police did not suspect involvement of militants in this incident. “We have reason to believe that Taliban were not involved in this act,” he had said.

However, in the past, militant groups had claimed the responsibility of many attacks on polio teams.

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