Investigation into ‘corruption’ in polio programme demanded

Updated October 21, 2019

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Former NHS minister expresses concern over social media rumours about corruption in the polio programme. — AP/File
Former NHS minister expresses concern over social media rumours about corruption in the polio programme. — AP/File

ISLAMABAD: Former national health services minister Saira Afzal Tarar on Sunday demanded investigation into the alleged corruption in the polio programme, saying the international community was very sensitive about the issue of polio.

Showing her concern over social media rumours about corruption in the polio programme, she also demanded that the reports of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chief secretary and investigation agencies regarding former focal person of prime minister on polio be made public.

Last week, Prime Minister’s Focal Person for Polio Eradication Babarl Bin Atta resigned from the slot of focal person, but announced that he would continue playing his role for eradication of the crippling disease in the country. He also claimed that a number of positive steps had been taken during his tenure to curb polio.

However, rumours triggered on social media that Mr Atta was removed by Prime Minister Imran Khan following allegations that he had appointed some staffers against the rules.

In a statement, the former NHS minister said the increasing number of polio cases was a proof that the current government had failed to take any step to control the crippling disease.

“I demand that the investigation should be initiated against those who played with the future of our children,” she said.

As many as 72 cases of polio have been reported this year. Of these, 53 cases were reported from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, eight from Sindh, six from Balochistan and five cases from Punjab. Polio is a highly infectious disease caused by poliovirus and it mainly affects children under five years of age.

Published in Dawn, October 21st, 2019