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KARACHI: Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah on Tuesday extended Pakistan Rangers, Sindh’s special powers, which were due to expire on Jan 10, for another 90 days.

Mr Shah approved a summary to extend the special powers from Jan 11 to April 10, 2018 in view of Rangers’ achievements in targeted operations against terrorists, targeted killers and extortionists.

In addition to this, the chief minister granted time scale and service structure to lower grade employees of the irrigation department.

The employees had been appointed on non-promotional posts and the decision will benefit 28,971 of them.

Approves promotion structure for 28,971 employees of irrigation department

He also presided over a meeting of the provincial task force for eradication of polio, at the New Sindh Secretariat.

The CM reiterated his commitment to eradicating the disease from the province and issued necessary directives to all divisional and district administrations, and health officers to work hard for administering polio vaccine to children and keeping their localities clean.

“This is a national war and we have to win it,” he said.

He added that the polio virus had been eradicated from the entire world while Pakistan and Afghanistan were still battling with it.

“We have achieved good results due to our pragmatic approach but the virus still exists in some parts of the province, including Karachi, for certain reasons such as parents’ refusal to administer polio drops to their children, migration of people from Balochistan and Afghanistan to Sindh, and inefficient garbage lifting services,” he said.

Earlier, briefing the chief minister, provincial coordinator for polio eradication Fayaz Jatoi said the first polio case of 2017 was detected in August in UC-13 Gulshan-i-Iqbal and another case emerged in November 2017 in UC-4 Gadap, Karachi.

Mr Shah directed the Karachi commissioner to get garbage lifting started in District East, particularly in UC-13 Gulshan and UC-4 Gadap.

He also asked Karachi Municipal Commissioner Dr Asghar Shaikh to chalk out a plan with local government secretary to clean major storm-water drains of the city.

“I want its implementation within 48 hour,” he said.

There were 306 polio cases in Pakistan in 2014, of them 30 were in Sindh.

In 2015, of 54 polio cases in the country, 12 were in Sindh while in 2016 eight were in Sindh out of 19 cases.

The following year, two were in Sindh out of country’s eight polio cases.

Mr Jatoi said that there were 8.6 million children in the province, of them 2.4m were in Karachi.

“Polio administering teams under proper security offer vaccine to children all over the province. The children who missed the vaccine in December 2017 were 175,004 in number, of them 129,756 were in Karachi,” he added.

He said they had divided such children into two categories — those who were not present at home when the teams visited them and those whose parents refused to offer vaccination to them.

“In Karachi, the refusal rate in December 2017 remained 7.01 per cent while in the rest of Sindh it was 0.8 per cent,” Mr Jatoi further said.

The chief minister expressed his displeasure over polio positive environmental samples in Qambar, Jacobabad, Dadu and Sukkur.

He directed all divisional commissioners concerned to take necessary measures to clean their cities.

Mr Shah directed the chief secretary to record performance of all assistant commissioners, deputy commissioners and commissioners in terms of polio eradication in their ACRs.

“This is a serious issue and we all have to work in close coordination to save our children from this crippling disease,” he said and added that he would introduce a bill in the assembly against those who resisted vaccination of their children.

The chief minister also directed the commissioners to get blocked storm-water drains (nullahs) cleaned and garbage removed.

The meeting was attended by MNA Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho, Health Minister Dr Sikander Mandhro, principal secretary to the CM Sohail Rajput, IGP A.D. Khowaja, Shahnaz Wazir Ali, Karachi Additional IG Mushtaq Mahar, all divisional commissioners, PPHI CEO Dr Riaz Memon, Health DG Tahir Aziz Shaikh, John Agbor, Dr Abdi-Abdu-Rehman, Dr Kamaluddin Soomro and others.

Published in Dawn, January 10th, 2018