Press Esc to close
Monday 05 December 2016
News updated at 2:29 AM IST
Weather
Max: 26.9°C
Min : 18°C
In Bengaluru
Rain lightly

Ex-Saudi minister asks Pak Taliban to allow polio vaccinations

Islamabad, Sept 17, 2012, (PTI)

A former Saudi Arabian health minister has travelled to Pakistan to appeal to the local Taliban to lift their ban on polio vaccinations in the tribal belt and save thousands of children from becoming victims of the crippling disease.

Hussain A Gezairy came to Peshawar to make the appeal to the Taliban, who have banned polio vaccination in North Waziristan and South Waziristan tribal regions to protest US drone attacks, The News daily reported today.

The Taliban have said vaccinations will not be allowed till the US stops drone attacks, which they claimed were targeting innocent people, including women and children.

Gezairy told journalists in Peshawar yesterday that the same vaccine, which was effectively used to eradicate polio among a majority of Muslims round the world, had unfortunately become a hotly debated and controversial subject in Pakistan and is now threatening the rest of the world.

"I personally appeal to Hafiz Gul Bahadur, Maulvi Nazir, Mangal Bagh and the senior leadership of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan to lift the ban on polio vaccination in the name of future generations of the country and rest of the world," he said.

Gezairy, currently an adviser to the director general of the WHO on global polio eradication, said children and their health should be kept separate from other issues.

He shared his experience of working as the health minister in Saudi Arabia when polio was eradicated.

He argued that the polio virus could be eradicated. "Pakistan is one of the three endemic countries left in the world and the rest of the world is more worried about the virus re-infecting their children," he said.

"The government of Saudi Arabia has already imposed restrictions on Pakistani citizens, which includes administration of the polio vaccine upon arrival for Haj and Umra," he said.

Gezairy paid tribute to some banned Pakistani militant groups, including the Ansar-ul-Islam and Amar Bil Maroof in the Khyber Agency, for supporting the anti-polio drive and granting access to thousands of children who were not covered in earlier vaccination campaigns.

These two militant groups recently enabled the government to reach children in Tirah Valley in the volatile Khyber Agency and vaccinate them after some years.

The newspaper quoted Taliban sources in North Waziristan as saying that someone claiming to speak on behalf of the Saudi ambassador in Islamabad had made attempts to speak to commander Hafiz Gul Bahadur on phone but he refused to talk.

"After Hafiz Gul Bahadur refused to (speak on the phone), the caller then wished to talk to his deputy commander Halim Khan but he too declined to attend his call," a source close to Bahadur said.

The Taliban in North Waziristan, led by Bahadur, banned polio vaccination in the region on June 16.

Later, Maulvi Nazeer in neighbouring South Waziristan Agency announced a similar ban on June 25.


Go to Top

Photo Gallery
South Indian actress Priyamani poses infront of a replica of Rome's Trevi Fountain...

South Indian actress Priyamani poses infront of a replica of Rome's Trevi Fountain...

People take part in boat rally in Yamuna river to spread awareness about 'Namami Gange Project...

People take part in boat rally in Yamuna river to spread awareness about 'Namami Gange Project...

Delegates of the 6th Ministerial Conference of the Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process...

Delegates of the 6th Ministerial Conference of the Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process...

Dog lovers participated at the 38th & 39th All Breed Championship Dog Shows, organized by...

Dog lovers participated at the 38th & 39th All Breed Championship Dog Shows, organized by...

People take out a rally to protest against Union Carbide and Dow Chemicals on the 32nd anniversary..

People take out a rally to protest against Union Carbide and Dow Chemicals on the 32nd anniversary..

Sitar player and composer Anoushka Shankar performs during a concert in Chennai...

Sitar player and composer Anoushka Shankar performs during a concert in Chennai...

Bollywood actor John Abraham during the launch of Nissan GT-R, in Mumbai...

Bollywood actor John Abraham during the launch of Nissan GT-R, in Mumbai...

The sunset in Kalaburgi on Friday...

The sunset in Kalaburgi on Friday...

Cricketer Yuvraj Singh and Hazel Keech during their marriage with Hindu rituals in Goa...

Cricketer Yuvraj Singh and Hazel Keech during their marriage with Hindu rituals in Goa...

Protesters throwing stones on police and CRPF amid tear smoke during a clash after Friday...

Protesters throwing stones on police and CRPF amid tear smoke during a clash after Friday...

Copyright 2014, The Printers (Mysore) Private Ltd., 75, M.G Road, Post Box 5331, Bengaluru - 560001
Tel: +91 (80) 25880000 Fax No. +91 (80) 25880523