A LETTER sent by the Prime Minister’s Polio Eradication Cell to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa governor on Monday removes the thin cover for all to see reality in its absurd form. The letter requests Governor Masood Kausar to not force but convince the Taliban into lifting a ban on polio vaccination in North Waziristan Agency. The message is evidence of the Taliban’s writ in the agency as it is a sign of desperation on the part of a government whose efforts to protect its children against a crippling menace have been frustrated by all kinds of barriers. The Pakistani Taliban, who link the lifting of the vaccination ban to the cessation of drone strikes, are not the only hurdle anti-polio campaigners face, but they appear to be among the toughest. These militants are not just preventing the children of the area they control from being vaccinated, they pose a genuine danger to the vaccinators themselves.

The letter acknowledges the help of religious leaders and public representatives in forwarding the anti-polio drive. It also expresses disappointment that no headway has been made on this front this year in Fata. In general terms, it gives enough cause for lamenting the lack of awareness among groups of Pakistanis and their insistence on self-destruction arising from their suspicions regarding a crucial vaccine. Yet the call for dialogue with the Taliban has resonance beyond the subject of health. Beyond politics and beyond the recognition of militant power this call expands to a point where several aspects of a wider dialogue crop up. At this moment, though, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has little option but to try out the route that it has suggested in order to have the ban lifted. This is in the interest of the thousands of children that the government seeks to save from the effects of polio.

Opinion

Editorial

IMF’s firm stance
05 Feb, 2023

IMF’s firm stance

THE IMF mission has been in Islamabad since Jan 31 to complete the stalled technical and policy-level talks aimed at...
Grotesque bigotry
05 Feb, 2023

Grotesque bigotry

FREEDOM to profess one’s faith is guaranteed by the Constitution of Pakistan. However, for the country’s Ahmadi...
Kashmir reflections
05 Feb, 2023

Kashmir reflections

ASIDE from Kashmir Day, which the nation is observing today as an official holiday, there are a number of other days...
Crisis conference
Updated 04 Feb, 2023

Crisis conference

PTI's refusal to engage with the govt in such testing times will only be seen as sign of ideological bankruptcy.
Revenge politics
04 Feb, 2023

Revenge politics

A SENSE of déjà-vu prevails as cases pile up against PTI politicians, many of whom, along with their allies and...
Inappropriate remarks
04 Feb, 2023

Inappropriate remarks

OFFICIALS of the state, especially when representing the country at international forums, need to choose their words...