The residents of 25 disputed villages, which were previously a part of Mohmand Agency but later merged into Charsadda district, have rejected the anti-polio vaccination campaign by Charsadda medical teams and demanded the programme to be run by teams from Mohmand Agency, The Express Tribune learnt.
After warnings from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and President Asif Ali Zardari, the anti-polio teams reached the villages after a gap of five years. Dr Ziaul Habib, a resident of the area, told The Express Tribune that 22 teams of medical personnel started the campaign after five years, but were asked to leave in several areas. The locals insisted that since they were a part of Mohmand Agency, they would only allow teams from there to vaccinate their children.
Bashir Khan, coordinator for the polio campaign in Mohmand Agency, added that Haleemzai and Tarakzai tribes were part of the agency, but the provincial government merged them with Charasadda while these tribes still considered themselves to be part of the tribal agency. A total of 13 cases of polio were reported in the agency in 2010, which had been declared a polio-free zone in 2002.
Nisar Mohmand, an Awami National Party leader from the area, said, “We belong to Mohmand Agency. If we do not belong to the agency, then why was the Mohmand political administration seeking land for the construction of a Levies Fort in the area.” He mentioned that nearly 6,000 children remained deprived of the vaccination due to the dispute.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 28th, 2012.