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IT is a real pity if some of us have to be convinced into supporting something as basic as the administration of polio drops to children. As the harbinger of a new Pakistan and with a state-of-the-art cancer hospital to his credit, Imran Khan should require no briefing from the Word Health Organisation chief about the threat of polio in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Yet, such a WHO briefing was given on Thursday just as, in another manifestation of the challenge posed by heartless elements that are resistant to polio vaccination, a gathering of Pakistani and international religious scholars in Islamabad issued an edict declaring the polio drops halal. On the day the two news stories appeared, a polio worker died in Peshawar of wounds she had sustained on the country’s polio front, as a dire reminder of just how critical the situation is, particularly in KP.

At a distance from where briefings take place and edicts are deemed necessary, both Mr Khan and the clerics are well placed to act where it really matters. The PTI’s support at the grass roots all over Khyber Pakhtunkhwa should enable it to make a much-needed contribution to the anti-polio drive. This is a statement the PTI chief must make in the interest of the people and his own reputation as a politician who does not like to complicate things and prefers to come up with direct, unambiguous responses. As simple issues go, there is none as straightforward as this one. The failure of the polio vaccination drive puts lives at grave risk and all have a role to play, including PTI workers, the edict-making clerics in Islamabad, and the ulema with considerable influence in KP and the rest of the country. These religious scholars must step up to the duty of taking their support of the anti-polio drive right down to the local level. The local mosque, connected to the people and as an institution seeking public good, should take anti-polio campaigners under its umbrella.

Comments (7) Closed

Aziz Wazir Jun 10, 2013 11:33am

It is better to raise the voice for polio vaccination. Moreover, at the same time, the government should focus on other diseses in the region. It is observed that more cancer cases and the disese spreding by fly mosquitos in North Wazizstan is increasing. The latter is indirectly related to the NATO troops presence in the near by Afghanistan. While the former may be due to the chemicals used in the missiles fired by droones. There are other fatal diseases in the region which also needs focus of the authorities.

Furthermore, the disese of Hepatites is very common in the area which needs special consideration.

The work of the government on multiple fronts will be better to tackle the issues of Polio. It will eliminate the doubts about polivo vaccine.

K G Surendran Jun 10, 2013 01:32pm

How can one put children's future health to risk on religious grounds, one does not hear of this problem in other Islamic countries. Please do not put your children's future to RISK, they are innocence personified manifold times and they are the future generation of any country.

Shafi Jun 11, 2013 03:59am

We are heavily relying on the media in general and on religious machinery in particular. God, on the day of judgement, will also ask about our cognitive faculty. What is the use of the brain??? Just to make conspiracies against one another? Or only to think negatively? Instead of relying on these propagandists, we should move with our own approach or else blind following will lead us nowhere.

Rooster Jun 11, 2013 04:57am

They can do a good role play with uncle Sargam.

Khan Jun 11, 2013 09:30am

Being a Pathan myself, i feel so much ashamed that in KP we have given so much freedom to illiterate 'ulemas' who don't even know the true Islamic religion then how come they will understand logic of polio vaccination. We must wake up that there is a dog in our well which must be removed if we want to drink clean water; trust me that it wouldn't help just removing few buckets from our so much contaminated well.

Saad Saeed Jun 11, 2013 04:12pm

Receiving a briefing does not mean that you are being convinced about the necessity of a task. You should have looked into the details of the meeting before passing so big a judgment on Mr. Imran Khan. His tweets after he got a call from Bill gates regarding Polio eradication read like this "PTI is already committed to eliminating life threatening diseases from Pakistan through health education and immunisation programmes!" and the next one goes like this "Appreciate Gates' trust in PTI to further polio eradication in Khyber Pukhtunkhwa where previous governments have had major setbacks." Obviously he shares the nation's concerns regarding the disease yet the perception that one gets of Imran Khan after reading your editorial is such as he is in line with the polio worker killing bigoted mullahs.

Haider Jun 11, 2013 06:13pm

Here comes the role of Religious leaders as the Pakhtun belt is driven by religious leaders. Tableeghi Jamaat can be a great asset in spreading the awareness about the polio and the drops. I wish TJ comes up with the leading role and forebears of health for unprivileged tribal areas.