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International Community Condemns Attacks On Polio Workers In Pakistan

“U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is calling the killing of health workers trying to vaccinate Pakistani children against polio in a U.N.-backed campaign ‘cruel, senseless and inexcusable,'” the Associated Press reports, noting, “Ban said at his year-end news conference [on Wednesday] that the eight killed were among thousands across Pakistan ‘working selflessly to achieve the historic goal of polio eradication'” (12/19). Similarly, “[t]he World Health Organization and UNICEF in their statements have expressed their strong commitment and support to the Government of Pakistan and the people of Pakistan in their efforts to rid the country of polio and other diseases,” Pakistan Today writes (12/19).

“An alliance of Pakistani clerics will hold demonstrations across the country against the killings of polio eradication campaign workers, leaders said on Thursday,” according to Reuters, which adds, “Tahir Ashrafi, who heads the moderate Pakistan Ulema Council, said that 24,000 mosques associated with his organization would preach against the killings of health workers during Friday prayers” (Zahra-Malik, 12/19). “It may be too soon to accurately assess the impact of this week’s violence on eradication in Pakistan or globally,” the New York Times writes, noting “the United Nations suspended its anti-polio work in Pakistan on Wednesday” (Walsh/McNeil, 12/19).