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‘Blame terror for Pakistan’s failed polio drive’

Mir Hazar Khan Bijarani, who was in New Delhi to attend the Polio Summit, blamed terrorism and Taliban, for his country being bracketed with Nigeria and Afghanistan.

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Pakistan and Afghan Taliban may have closed ranks to fight the West but they differ on a fight against polio in the strife-torn region.

Pakistan’s minister for inter-provincial co-ordination Mir Hazar Khan Bijarani, who was in New Delhi to attend the Polio Summit, blamed terrorism and Taliban, for his country being bracketed with Nigeria and Afghanistan, as high endemic polio countries in the WHO list.

In Afghanistan, they allow the vaccine teams to move around, but the Taliban commanders have declared the vaccine un-Islamic in Pakistan’s north-western frontier regions and Baluchistan, Bijarani remarked.

He also points out some clerics publicly allege that it the vaccine is an anti-virility drug — a “grand conspiracy” against their population.

Pakistan had recorded 138 cases in 2010, up from 89.  In 2011, there were 198 confirmed polio cases.  Since January 2012, 11 new cases were confirmed.

Praising India for its achievement as a polio free nation, Bijarani said Pakistan was trying its best to follow India’s footprints. Bijarani sought New Delhi’s co-operation and experience in raising its routine immunisation coverage, which is the backbone not only of polio eradication but also elimination of measles and neo-natal tetanus.

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