[ACNS] A bomb at a Polio clinic in south west Pakistan has left people feeling “very frightened,” the Bishop of Karachi, the Rt Revd Sadiq Daniel, said. Speaking to the UK’s Premier Christian Radio, Bishop Daniel said that “People can't react. . . The only reaction is that they're scared. They're scared and they're very frightened.”
Polio vaccination clinics in Pakistan are regularly targeted by terrorists who claim that they are a front for American spies or a Western plot to sterilise Pakistani children. A clinician at a different clinic was shot and killed in November. This week’s attack by a suicide bomber in the city of Quetta left more than 20 injured and 15 dead. 14 of the fatalities were police officers and soldiers providing security for the medical teams.
Known commonly as Polio, Poliomyelitis is an infectious viral disease that invades the nervous system causing fever, fatigue, headache, vomiting, stiffness in the neck and limb pain. In extreme cases the virus can cause irreversible paralysis, extending to breathing muscles leading to death. A programme of vaccination has led to its eradication in many countries but it remains present in many others across South America, Africa and Asia. The BBC says that Pakistan and Afghanistan are the only two countries where the disease is still endemic.
“Suddenly there was a loud bang and I fell to the ground, I could not see anything, there was dust everywhere. Then I heard people screaming and sirens of ambulances,” injured policeman Shabir Ahmed, who suffered shrapnel wounds to his stomach, hands legs and feet in this week’s blast, told the AFP news agency.
Following the attack, the Bishop of Karachi appealed for people to pray for Pakistan during an interview with Premier Christian Radio.
“Our people, the nurses in the schools and the hospitals and all the volunteers will do all that they can do. And at the same time, we're praying.
"Just pray for peace. Not only for Karachi, but for the whole country,” he said.
"It was not expected. Forces are very vigilant; I don't think it will happen again. They will not allow any more."