PESHAWAR: Federal Minister for Religious Affairs Maulana Abdul Shakoor has warned that people of the erstwhile tribal areas would boycott a polio vaccination campaign if the government and security institutions failed to restore peace.
“We want to make it clear that if the government and security institutions fail to provide us with peace, the people of [formerly] Fata won’t accept the measures being taken by the government, on top of which is polio vaccination,” he said in a widely circulated video on social media.
He said the boycott might be followed by civil disobedience campaign “like the one started by (PTI chief) Imran Khan”.
He said the JUI-F did not favour such protest measures, but people were being compelled to head towards such a situation. He urged the security institutions and the government to restore peace in those areas before things got out of control.
While it could not be confirmed who had filmed the video, the JUI-F’s provincial information secretary Abdul Jalil Jan confirmed to Dawn that Maulana Shakoor was addressing a delegation of party leaders and workers from former tribal areas in Peshawar.
He said it was an internal meeting of the party where the media was not invited, but someone might have uploaded the video on social media.
In the video, the minister also spoke about the recent killing of a JUI-F leader Qari Samiuddin in North Waziristan and last year’s killing of another leader, Maulana Abdul Salam in Bajaur, and asked the participants to stage protests and highlight the killings.
He also asked them to condemn the provincial government and the security institutions “as they have completely failed in maintaining peace”.
The video footage has since drawn criticism on social media.
“Sitting federal minister Mufti Shakoor of JUI-F announces boycott of polio vaccination,” activist Gul Bukhari wrote on Twitter and wondered if such people could remain in the cabinet of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.
Some of his supporters defended him by uploading one of his previous videos in which he was supporting the polio vaccination campaign in the erstwhile Fata.
Published in Dawn, August 13th, 2022