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Govt taking polio eradication campaign seriously: Zardari

September 28, 2012


President of Pakistan, Asif Ali Zardari, addresses the 67th session of the United Nations General Assembly with a photo of Pakistan's late Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto next to him at UN headquarters Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2012. — Photo by AP

UNITED NATIONS: President Asif Ali Zardari on Thursday said the democratic government has taken on the challenge to eradicate polio from the country seriously and hoped that with the support of the international community, Pakistan would be made polio-free country.

Talking to media persons after attending a high-level meeting on eradication of polio from the world, which was held here on the occasion of 67th session of the General Assembly of United Nations, the President said that with the measures being taken by the democratic government Pakistan would be made a polio free country.

Bill Gates, Co-chair of Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Pakistan's Goodwill ambassador to eradicate polio Ms. Asifa Benazir Bhutto and President Islamic Development Bank Dr. Muhammad Ali Al- Madani were also present on the occasion.

The President while giving his comments on the issue of eradication of polio said that the dictators in Pakistan in the past destroyed all the institutions including the organisation fighting the issue of polio.

He said now the democratically elected government had taken a number of steps and the situation has improved and expressed the hope that the programme for eradication of polio would also be succeeded.

The President confidently assured the international community that Pakistan would succeed and win in this campaign to eradicate this crippling disease from the society to ensure safe future of coming generation.

Bill Gates, Co-chair of Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation while appreciating the efforts of Pakistan government to eradicate polio assured full help and support in achieving the goals in this regard.

He said it is a good thing that international donors like Islamic Development Bank have been providing financial assistance and cooperation to Pakistan in the programme to eradicate polio and secure the future of the children.

Appreciating the conference on eradication of polio held here on the occasion of 67th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Bill Gates said, “It's very encouraging that international community is serious in eradication of polio and there has been cooperation at global level in this regard.”

Bill Gates, who had been providing financial assistance to Pakistan to eradicate polio, also acknowledged serious efforts and measures being taken by the present government and assured his full support and assistance till the achievements of the desired results of polio free Pakistan.

Ms Asifa Benazir Bhutto, Pakistan's Goodwill Ambassador while talking to newsmen said she is proud to take on the challenge to eradicate polio from Pakistan.

She said, “I am much honored to be here among the important persons, who are working together to eliminate polio from the world.”

Asifa Bhutto Zardari, daughter of President Asif Ali Zardari and the first women Prime Minister of the Muslim World Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto while replying to another question said, “I am determined to make Pakistan a polio free country.”

She said it is pride for her as she represented here the people who are fighting polio and disability. She said, “I feel a special responsibility towards fighting Polio in Pakistan as the programme was first launched by my mother Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto.”

Asifa said, “Pakistan's Ambassador for Polio Eradication, I am determined to carry forward the mission of my mother.” She said making Pakistan a polio free country is her aim adding “to secure Pakistan's future, there is no option but to eradicate polio”.

President Islamic Development Islamic Development Bank Dr. Muhammad Ali Al-Madani, who announced financial assistance of dollars 227 million for Pakistan to eradicate polio, said there is need for more coordinated efforts to make the world polio free.