PESHAWAR: Continuing its efforts to curb polio resurgence, the Peshawar High Court has said that it will hold a judicial inquiry if a new polio case surfaces in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa or Fata.
“[We] will fix responsibility and [those responsible] will be taken to task, whether it is negligence on part of parents, government or the head of a polio team,” PHC Chief Justice Dost Muhammad Khan said on Saturday, speaking at the court premises during the inauguration ceremony of a national immunisation campaign that is to be launched on April 23.
The chief justice also asked the government to direct security forces to either halt a military operation in tribal areas for two to three weeks or provide protection to polio teams so that children in those war-ravaged areas can be inoculated. According to an official of the Expanded Programme on Immunisation, the campaign has been delayed in South Waziristan owing to a military operation in the area.
Justice Khan said that political agents of all agencies must utilise all resources to reach inaccessible areas.
The chief justice also had words of advice on how the federal government can help counter the resurgence of polio in the country. “The Peoples’ Representation Act should be amended to make it mandatory for voters and candidates to produce polio vaccination certificates [for their family] at the time of election. Those who fail to do so should not be allowed to contest the election or vote.”
He also proposed that the federal government should direct NADRA and the Passport Office to not entertain requests for a computerised national identity card or passport if a certificate is not provided.
Earlier, the court had made it mandatory for litigants to provide the certificates when moving the court and ruled that those seeking Watan and Ration Cards under the federal government’s Benazir Income Support Programme must provide polio vaccination certificates to be eligible. The court has also ordered the Provincial Disaster Management Authority to set up 20 polio vaccination centres at the Jalozai camp, which houses over 170,000 people.
He also suggested that at the time of admission, schools should ask parents to produce vaccination certificates.