Govt sees international conspiracy behind attacks on polio workers

Federal govt sees international conspiracy behind attacks on polio workers

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: As the country continues to have security issues in its efforts to eradicate polio due to constant attacks on polio teams, the federal government has blamed an ‘international conspiracy’ for such attacks.

“Attacks on polio workers are part of an international conspiracy against Pakistan,” the minister of state for health Saira Afzal Tarar was quoted as saying by Radio Pakistan on Tuesday.

Pakistan has already witnessed a record number of polio cases during the current year with 250, and remains one of only three countries in the world where the polio virus is still endemic. The other two countries are Nigeria and Afghanistan.

However, efforts to eradicate the crippling disease have been hit by repeated attacks on polio vaccination teams by the militants across the country.

Talking to a Television channel, the state minister said that the inter-ministerial committee formed by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will take up security issues which will hopefully improve the situation.

The minister said that 80 percent polio cases emerged from security compromised areas.

On Monday, the state minister while talking to media persons in Peshawar expressed concern over increase of polio cases in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the volatile federally administrated tribal areas (FATA), saying that 90 percent high risk Union Councils (UCs) belong to these areas.

The state minister also appealed to Imran Khan to lead the polio vaccination campaign in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province which his party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) is in power.

The International Health Regulations (IHR) Committee of the World Health Organisation (WHO) recently warned Pakistan that its citizens would be subjected to global screening if the country did not improve its performance drastically over the next six months.