ISLAMABAD, July 17: In the tribal areas, it is not unusual for some people to refuse polio vaccination for their children but during the ongoing campaign a resident of Islamabad not only refused to have the vaccine for his children but also broke the nose of a volunteer.
The family members of the man also claimed that the immunisation campaign was a conspiracy by the West to reduce the population of the country, Dawn has learnt.
While the polio immunisation team was reportedly working in Johda village in the limits of Golra police on Monday, one of its members, Mohsin Ali, a student of the International Islamic University, went to the house of Nadir Khan and asked him if there was any child less than five years of age.
Khan said he did not have any child in the house but as the door of the house was opened, Ali saw children playing in the courtyard.
When he asked Khan to bring out the children as he had to give them vaccine, he refused and went inside. Moments later, he came back with a wooden stick and started beating Ali and broke his nose.
The zonal supervisor of the campaign, Tariq Mehmood, told Dawn that he shifted Ali to Pims and during X-ray it was confirmed that his nose had been fractured. As a result, it was decided to inform the police.
“Police reached the place of incident but Khan had managed to flee. However, a case was registered against him with the Golra police,” he said.
Hamaish Gul, a relative of Khan, said he also did not believe in vaccination because he had learnt that it came from abroad.
“Vaccination is a conspiracy of the West and it makes a person impotent or diminishes his fertility. The West wants to decrease the population of our country. No child is born without the will of God, so we should not use these things. I have 12 children and all of them are healthy,” he said.
Badshah Khan, another relative of Khan, said the accused had applied for bail before arrest on Tuesday so he cannot be arrested.
Khan’s nephew Zahid Khan said the immunisation campaign volunteer had used derogatory language against his uncle due to which he reacted strongly.
“It is the right of a person if he wants to have vaccine for his child or not, the polio team should not pressure him,” he said.
Mohammad Tayyab, a resident of the area, added that Khan and his family belonged to the tribal areas and were hesitant to have the vaccine.
A trader of the area, Ameer Khan, said it was a small issue and had one of them showed patience the incident could have been avoided.
The imam of a nearby mosque, Abdullah, said while he was in Peshawar he also opposed the anti-polio campaign but after shifting to Islamabad he had realised that it was in people’s interest.“I made an announcement from the mosque that people should vaccinate their children. They will get awareness with the passage of time,” he said.
Dr Hassan Arooj, the director health of the Capital Development Authority, said after the incident he reached the place and instructed the zonal in-charge to lodge an FIR.
“We have been trying to convince the people that vaccine is in their interest but still there are some persons who cannot be convinced,” he said.