Seven charity workers shot dead in Pakistan: police
AFPPESHAWAR, Pakistan--Six women and a man working for a health education charity in northwest Pakistan were shot dead on their way home from a community center on Tuesday, officials said.
January 2, 2013, 12:02 am TWN
Police said they were investigating whether there was any link to the Taliban or other Islamist militants, who have been blamed for past attacks on charity workers and on health education projects in particular.
The attack took place about 65 kilometers (40 miles) from the capital in the Swabi district. The victims were all Pakistanis and worked for local charity Ujalla, which runs health education classes and employed health visitors.
Five of the women were teachers, the sixth was a health worker and the man worked as a health technician, officials said.
They were being driven home from a village community center when they were attacked, said Abdul Rashid Khan, Swabi police chief.
“Four men came on two motorbikes. They attacked their van, a Toyota HiAce. They opened fire to the right and left of the van and fled,” Khan told AFP.
“Six women and a man have died. The driver is injured,” he added.
Police said the women were aged 20 to 35 and the male health technician was 52.
Doctor Mohammad Sheerin at the local Bacha Khan medical complex said one man had been critically wounded and evacuated to the northwestern city of Peshawar.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, near a junction for the motorway which connects the northwestern city of Peshawar to the eastern city of Lahore. Police said the motive was under investigation.
“A wave of terrorism is continuing in (the northwestern province of) Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, so we are investigating whether it's a part of the same wave or there were any other motives,” said Khan.