QUETTA: A two-member polio team and its two police escorts went missing from a remote area of Balochistan’s troubled Zhob district on Friday.
“Two polio workers escorted by two constables of the Balochistan Levies left the district headquarters at 11pm to vaccinate children in the Murgha Gibzai area – but they have not reached their destination,” Zhob’s Deputy Commissioner Nazir Ahmed Khetran confirmed to Media.
“It is a remote area. There is no proper communication system. Which is why we are facing difficulty in tracing them,” he said.
Vaccinators often go to the remote areas and return the next day, a Levies official said. However, it is also likely that the polio team might have been kidnapped by militants in Zhob where earlier nine people were seized by Taliban extremists.
The polio team was supposed to conduct a vaccination campaign in Murgha Gibzai, Toda Ghibzai and Barkwal union councils. However, they did not reach their destination even though it is hardly a two-hour drive from the district headquarters.
The missing polio workers have been identified as Samad, driver, and Hameed, vaccinator, and Levies constables as Naseem and Ayub.
Deputy Commissioner Zhob said a team has been sent to trace the missing men. “I cannot confirm whether they have been kidnapped,” he added.
Zhob is one of the troubled areas of Balochistan which shares borders with the restive Waziristan tribal regions and Afghanistan. Zhob is also one of the ‘high-risk’ areas with regard to polio vaccination.