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A health worker marks an infant after immunisation with anti-polio drops in Lahore. — Photo by AP
A health worker marks an infant after immunisation with anti-polio drops in Lahore. — Photo by AP

ISLAMABAD, May 28: The caretaker government took another controversial step by abolishing the Prime Minister Polio Monitoring and Coordination Cell, established by the Pakistan Peoples Party government in 2011.

According to a notification, the caretaker prime minister has approved the dissolution of the Polio Cell with immediate effect. The Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination would be the apex nodal ministry for the Polio Eradication Initiative.

Under the cell, the number of polio cases had been reduced to 58 in 2012 from the 198 cases in 2011 (a 70 percent decrease).

Former adviser to the Prime Minister for polio eradication, Shahnaz Wazir Ali, condemned the move and lashed out at the caretaker government.

“It is a very surprising move and will give a bad message to the donor agencies and the world community. It would show that the Pakistani government did not fulfill its commitments,” she told Dawn.

“The caretaker government has now placed the monitoring cell under the Ministry of National Health Services which is against the 18th amendment. Under the amendment, it is clearly stated that health is the subject of provinces,” she said.

High ranking officials associated with international donor agencies working with the polio cell have also expressed their disappointment regarding the decision. “We received a shock when we heard the polio monitoring cell was being dissolved,” said an official of an international donor agency requesting anonymity.

Caretaker Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Arif Nizami was not aware of the move. Similarly, Prime Minister Mir Hazar Khan Khoso’s spokesman Shafqat Jaleel, when approached, said the decision had not been announced and he was not aware of it. — A Reporter

Comments (10) Closed

avada May 29, 2013 12:48pm

I wonder why the cell was abolished. It's a shame that Pakistan is one of the last three countries in the world where polio still persists!!!

Syed Hussain Akbari May 29, 2013 02:48pm

What is wrong with the Caretaker Prime Minister ? Is he all right ? Polio effects mainly the limbs of the children. But apparently in the case of the Caretaker Prime Minister it has effected his brain (although very late).These steps shows that the government has surrendered to the Talibans and their likes. Furthermore, it also shows the mentality of the Caretaker Prime Minister expressing like, "I have the power. I can do anything. I do not need to think of the people and their children."

akram May 29, 2013 03:01pm

this is a mistake, when Pakistan so close to abolishing Polio in the country.

Yasmeen Baloch May 29, 2013 04:49pm

Is the Polio being used an another begging bowl tactic from the donor countries?

Donor agencies should ask why are cases still being seen despite billions of dollars in aid. The corruption must end. For these children's sake!

faisal May 29, 2013 06:01pm

what the hell is wrong with this old man? First the caretaker government should not even be getting into this business of changing existing policies and organizations. You're a placeholder, wait out your time till 1st June and then please leave!

Ak May 29, 2013 10:27pm

Horrible decision making from the government. Poorly communicated and no rationale provided. Pure shame. People are risking thier lives to deliver the medicine but the leadership is spineless. The last elected government failed to provide security to the masses. Now the former PM's son is kidnapped and the President's son can not even be seen publically in the country. Maybe the caretaker should take a lesson that what goes around comes around. Wonder if his grandchildren have been immunized.

K.A.Muhammad May 30, 2013 05:52am

Interpretation of mandate is wish, will, want and desire of person/s in power. At times it is whims and fancies of the person/s in power.

For example, the caretaker government is not mandated to proceed against Pervaiz Musharraf in Treason Case on various accounts (a categorical statement appearing in print media). But promotion and transfer of Government Officials after Election Results and many other such actions during its tenure to satisfy its wish, will, want, desire, whims and fancies is their mandate; the reason, of course being in power.

Jivey, Jivey, Pakistan; Pakistan, Pakistan, Jivey Pakistan.

Saurabh Srivastava May 30, 2013 09:48am

The baby in the picture is so cute. Hope Polio is eradicated from the face of Earth as soon as possible :)

pathanoo May 30, 2013 10:00am

Why in God's name?

Navjit Singh Aulakh May 30, 2013 01:38pm

If it is true it is regressive step and will dishearten the agencies involved in Polio eradication.