NOWSHERA: People of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa may face travel restrictions and international isolation “if we don’t vaccinate all our children against polio”, PTI chief Imran Khan said here on Wednesday as he announced a plan to step up efforts in this regard.
“Our people could lose their jobs abroad and suffer economically. We need to join forces for polio vaccination to avert such threats,” he said while inaugurating a polio vaccination campaign at a rural health centre in Akora Khattak.
Maulana Samiul Haq, the patron-in-chief of Darul Uloom Haqqania, was present on the occasion.
Mr Khan said the people who attacked polio workers neither served the cause of Islam nor of Pakistan or Pakhtuns, but put children at the risk of getting handicapped.
The health workers and policemen killed while doing their job during efforts to eradicate polio deserved commemoration for their sacrifice for the cause of protecting children from the crippling disease, he said.
“There is a looming danger of travel restrictions on our people if we don’t administer oral polio vaccine to under-five children.”
“We must vaccinate our children in every campaign,” he said.
Mr Khan announced that he would lead the anti-polio campaign in the province and said the provincial government would provide security to vaccinators. He also appealed to elements attacking vaccination teams to stop such attacks.
He said the people of Khyber Pakhtunhwa were facing various challenges with great courage.
He claimed that the PTI had stopped Nato supplies to create a congenial atmosphere for peace and asked how talks with the Taliban could succeed while American drone attacks were increasing.
“All these efforts are for creating windows for peace in the war-torn society and this is the top priority of the PTI,” he said.
The PTI chief said federal Finance Minister Ishaq Dar had admitted that the government had lost $100 billion in the “war against terror”, but he was now criticising the blockade of Nato supplies.
“After nine years, every party was now calling for negotiations with the Taliban, instead of continuing the war.”
He urged the federal government to chalk out a proper plan for talks.
He said it was the duty of the federal government to take steps to keep prices of goods in check.
Claiming that people could feel a change in every department in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa compared with other provinces, he said the PTI was introducing a local bodies system which would prove to the effective in solving local problems.
Maulana Sami criticised the federal government’s policy relating to peace with the Taliban. He alleged that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was acting on dictates from abroad.
Later, the PTI chief visited the home of a policeman killed in a recent attack during an anti-polio campaign in Peshawar.
According to AFP, Mr Khan launched the campaign by administering polio vaccine drops to children at the health centre.
“Those who are attacking polio workers are doing injustice to our province, our country and the whole of humanity,” he told reporters.
“If we run a full-fledged campaign against polio in the coming three months we can eradicate polio from the country and I will personally lead this campaign.”
Dr Imtiaz Khan, focal person for the anti-polio campaign in the province, said up to 2.3 million children in nine districts would be targeted in the immunisation drive.
“As many as 52 cases of polio have been reported from the tribal areas and 10 from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa this year,” he said.