ISLAMABAD, Oct 15: Pakistan is striving to achieve self-reliance in production of polio vaccine to meet the local demand and save million of dollars being spent on its import and an accord has been signed with China in this regard.

“Pakistan and China have signed a memorandum of understanding on cooperation in production of polio vaccine,” President Asif Ali Zardari said while inaugurating the three-day anti-polio campaign on Monday.

He expressed the hope that the cooperation would be extended to manufacturing the vaccine in Pakistan for nationwide anti-polio programmes.

He reiterated the government’s commitment to banishing polio from Pakistan and called for producing the vaccine in the country. He said some extremists had opposed polio eradication plans.

“We cannot allow extremists to stop us from carrying forward the welfare agenda. With democracy taking root, these forces are bound to fail.”

The government, he said, was aware of the recent challenges in North and South Waziristan where certain groups had imposed a ‘ban’ on anti-polio campaigns.

“We are meeting the challenge with appropriate solutions in accordance with local traditions and norms,” he added.

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