N Waziristan warlord bans polio vaccination

Published: June 17, 2012

Hafiz Gul Bahadur says as long as drone strikes continue, administering polio jabs will be banned. DESIGN: FAIZAN DAWOOD

MIRAMSHAH: 

While Pakistan is still struggling to eradicate the crippling polio virus, a top pro-government warlord in the North Waziristan tribal agency has banned vaccinations in the region saying the healthcare drive was a cover for US spies.

The announcement was made by warlord Hafiz Gul, who has a non-aggression treaty with Pakistani authorities and who, the United States, believes is playing host to the Haqqani network – the deadly Taliban group blamed for most violence in neighbouring Afghanistan.

“As long as drone strikes are not stopped in Waziristan there will be a ban on administering polio jabs,” Bahadur said in pamphlets distributed in Miramshah.

The decision was taken by the Higher Council of Mujahideen in consultation with other members, it adds. “No one will have the right to complain about damage in case of any violation.”

A copy of the pamphlet, titled Mas’ul-o-Khadimul Mujahideen, is available with The Express Tribune.

It says the people of Waziristan do not require help from the United States which, on the one hand, is spending billions of dollars on eradicating polio, while killing innocent tribesmen on the other hand.

“Polio infects one child in a million, but hundreds of Waziri women, children and elders have been killed in drone strikes,” it adds and blames Pakistan’s government for being hand in glove with the US.

The pamphlet cites the case of Shakil Afridi, the doctor who might have helped the CIA find Osama bin Laden through a vaccination drive in Abbottabad, last year.

“Polio campaigns are also used to spy for America against the Mujahideen, one example of which is Dr Shakil Afridi,” it says. Pakistan is one of the few countries that still harbours the polio virus, including a strain found nowhere else in Asia, but some clerics have condemned the vaccine, putting thousands of people off vaccinating their children

Electricity before vaccination

Meanwhile, tribal elders in North Waziristan vowed to continue boycotting polio vaccination drives until the government electrifies the region.

The boycott was announced at a grand jirga of Asad Khel, Dhur Dhanee, Muskee and Dosalee tribes on Saturday.

The elders said they have been deprived of electricity for the past 30 years. They accused the local political administration of siphoning off Rs34million set aside for the provision of a new electricity line to the region.

“We have been without electricity for the last 30 years and the government is ignoring the problem. They have not bothered to look into the matter despite repeated requests and protests. We have no option but to boycott vaccination drives,” an elder of Dhur Dhanee tribe, Malik Mashal Khan, told The Express Tribune, “Our children die of scorching heat and mosquito bites, what difference does it make if they die of polio? We will continue our boycott until the government fulfills our demand,” Khan said. The political administration of North Waziristan told The Express Tribune that it could not take any action against the tribe until a new political agent was appointed.

(Additional reporting by Zulfiqar Ali in D I Khan)

Published In The Express Tribune, June 17th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (31)

  • Basit
    Jun 17, 2012 - 9:04AM

    “Polio infects one child in a million, but hundreds of Waziri women, children and elders have been killed in drone strikes,”

    Actually, a very logical argument. American funded aid projects are most often used as cover for spies. Even the Kerry-Lugar act, as admitted by Sen. John Kerry in a recent NPR interview, was used for injecting CIA and JSOC into Pakistan in the form of contractors, aid workers etc. It is no surprise that our liberals also were the most supportive of the Kerry-Lugar act with only the military opposing it as they knew the real intentions behind it.

    Whatever one may feel about Taliban, the liberal obsession with using drones and foreigners to fight what they keep saying is “our war” is contradictory and doomed to failure.

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  • Prabhjyot Singh Madan
    Jun 17, 2012 - 4:14PM

    @Basit:
    You are actually supporting the militant and the spread of the virus. The people in the region has the right to the vaccine. Pakistani army and government are shirking from their responsibilities to their under privileged citizens. Ask their opinion about the vaccine and not a militant who rules there as his fiefdom. CheerioRecommend

  • menteliscio
    Jun 17, 2012 - 4:20PM

    Thank you Dr Shakil!

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  • alicia
    Jun 17, 2012 - 4:28PM

    Drone attacks are bad we all agree but why punish children for that?
    Polio ruins life and that too in a poor area like Waziristan; a child with polio has no hope.

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  • confused
    Jun 17, 2012 - 4:39PM

    @Basit:

    very logical argument. But is it true. Please look at the rates of deaths of innocents in drone attacks. The Friday Times ran this series about a month ago.

    Fact is that ignorance is what these vultures thrive on and we give them more and more ammunition to kill our children and families.

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  • John B
    Jun 17, 2012 - 4:40PM

    As allways twisted logic gets more support than the direct solution.

    ” Let the child die of polio, we can have more children” logic ignores the child bearer -the women.

    No one is bothered to ask, why the drones are there in the first place.

    Polio leaves the ordinary citizens in a crippling life while the war lords are carried in palanquin.

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  • observer
    Jun 17, 2012 - 4:51PM

    Is this ‘negotiation with a gun to one’s head’ a Pakistani innovation or what?
    Do the Mujahideen believe that if they refuse to administer polio drops to the children of Waziristan, somehow the drones will get crippled?
    The people of Waziristan should realise, these thugs have no compunctions in using the children of Waziristan as a shield.
    Kick them out now.

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  • vasan
    Jun 17, 2012 - 4:56PM

    “As long as drone strikes are not stopped in Waziristan there will be a ban on administering polio jabs,” Bahadur said in pamphlets distributed in Miramshah.
    Typical Pakistani state tactic of blackmailing the world with a gun pointing to its own head. How will drone strike stoppage stops the CIA agents in a polio vaccination. What is the connection ?

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  • Riaz Khan
    Jun 17, 2012 - 4:56PM

    What Drone attacks has to do with Polio Shots? Should we stop eating also because of Drone attacks? What strange logic?

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  • DevilHunterX
    Jun 17, 2012 - 4:59PM

    So why dont you eradicate polio yourself? Spend your own money on R&D and develop polio vaccinations. What is that? You can’t? Why? p>Recommend

  • Nadir
    Jun 17, 2012 - 5:03PM

    If the drones dont kill our children, polio will! Using your own children to blackmail! How classy! and then people say that the people in North Waziristan are happy to live under these murderous thugs! This is like saying, if you dont shoot us, we will shoot ourselves!

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  • faraz
    Jun 17, 2012 - 5:16PM

    So if US doesn’t stop drones, we will have our children crippled! What a stupid logic; no wonder he is a warlord

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  • tahir
    Jun 17, 2012 - 5:30PM

    i appreciate the move of Taliban they have very strong reasons to ban the vaccine campaign

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  • R.A
    Jun 17, 2012 - 5:41PM

    It is as simple as
    If you kill our people
    We will paralyse our children
    It can happen only in a
    LAND OF PURE
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  • Jai
    Jun 17, 2012 - 5:44PM

    So Pakistan would rather have it’s own children suffer polio and become crippled for life? You do realize even Saudi Arabia won’t let you come for haj if you’ve not had polio vaccines. Indian Muslims suspected the polio vaccine to be a govt ploy against them but accepted the vaccine after told by Saudis that they won’t be allowed to spread their polio in Saudi Arabia. India is now completely immunized, a monumental task commended by the WHO. Recommend

  • Jai
    Jun 17, 2012 - 5:55PM

    @Basit:
    You can run your own polio eradication campaign provided Pakistan cares about it’s children and has the funds to manufacture and distribute it. The polio vaccine is not patented so you can make it. It was invented by the Jonas Edward Salk who didn’t patent it so it would not become expensive and out of reach for the world’s poor. Guess what he was a big bad Jew.

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  • rangacharya Kulkarni
    Jun 17, 2012 - 6:25PM

    What is the relation between the two: Drone and Polio? For God’s sake, please donot associate Polio vaccination with US. Polio eradication campaign is from World Health Organisation ( WHO) which was funded by 193 countries including Pakistan. It is beyond my comprhension how drones and Polio are interlinked. Americans must be laughing at the ignorance. Please donot undermine the importance of WHO by equating it with US. WHO is as much as for Pakistanis as for US.

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  • greg
    Jun 17, 2012 - 7:29PM

    what a logic from peace lovers!!

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  • sars
    Jun 17, 2012 - 7:35PM

    No polio vaccines till halt of drone strikes and also till all of the tribal regions are electrified???
    Since these people are both illogical appear to be maleficient towards their own children , i think the government needs to try harder to bring them under its control or else we will end up with a crippled, sick population who hates everyone (including its own women and children) is armed to the teeth and supports militants.
    This sounds like a very scary situation.

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  • Suraj
    Jun 17, 2012 - 9:00PM

    Never ending story… :(

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  • Mohsin
    Jun 17, 2012 - 9:59PM

    What these stupid warlords don’t understand is if polio now comes back to the regions from where it has been eradicated, it may infect millions within a year. WHO is concerned about its resurgence as it may be uncontrollable in such a scenario. And if NW region becomes the reason for the spread of polio to the world, they might even decide to increase the drones. Polio may pose greater threat than these stupid warlords. Allah save us from these morons!Recommend

  • @plarkin
    Jun 17, 2012 - 10:09PM

    I wonder if this [adjective deleted because ET is a scaredy cat] mullah has heard the expression: Cutting your nose to spite your face?

    This will eventually cause the rest of the world to ban Pakistanis from entering their countries. Send in your storm troopers with the medics. Inoculate at gun point.

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  • ayesha_khan
    Jun 17, 2012 - 10:25PM

    @menteliscio: “Thank you Dr Shakil!”

    It’s easy to blame Shakil Afridi. There is a reason why Pakistan is one of the only 3 countries to still have polio. Unfortunately until very recently, India was also amongst this very shameful list. The reason is that rumours were spread among Muslim community that polio vaccines were a trap to tomake the child impotent and reduc eMuslim population. This misinformation was not spread by Shakil Afridi.

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  • Thoughtful
    Jun 17, 2012 - 10:27PM

    Death by virus. The new biological warfare or just sheer blackmail.

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  • ayesha_khan
    Jun 17, 2012 - 10:29PM

    /where is Pakistan government sovereignty here? Some warlord can actually enforce non-implementation of polio vaccine and government and the powerful nuclear armed army will helplessly standby and see its children suffer?

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  • Mirza
    Jun 17, 2012 - 11:42PM

    These freedom fighters are waging a jihad against NATO by keeping our children in the harm’s way. Yet they are our best friends and brothers. Man is recognized by the company he keeps.

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  • Truthbetold
    Jun 18, 2012 - 12:51AM

    @Basit:
    I am sure you wouldn’t deny vaccination for your own children, but you want to deny to other children. Hypocritical?

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  • Cautious
    Jun 18, 2012 - 2:11AM

    How many countries have “warlords” controlling large sections of their territory? Says something about Pakistan’s control over this territory and puts all the sovereignty nonsense into perspective.

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  • PakArmySoldier
    Jun 18, 2012 - 2:13AM

    That’s quite a solution. Punish your local population to stop external aggression. I don’t know what planet these people live on.

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  • kris
    Jun 18, 2012 - 3:08AM

    @Basit:
    not only your point, but look at Obama’s “czar” appointed Director of “Science and Technology” has to say
    The population at large could be sterilized by infertility drugs intentionally put into the nation’s drinking water or in food;
    Single mothers and teen mothers should have their babies seized from them against their will and given away to other couples to raise;
    People who “contribute to social deterioration” (i.e. undesirables) “can be required by law to exercise reproductive responsibility”—in other words, be compelled to have abortions or be sterilized.
    A transnational “Planetary Regime” should assume control of the global economy and also dictate the most intimate details of Americans’ lives—using an armed international police force.

    Bill Gates is pro-population control.

    Any world power that is so sadistic as to use depleted uranium on arbitrary peoples I think would have no qualms about poisoning anyone covertly using seemingly innocuous means.

    Whether

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  • Jun 18, 2012 - 9:31AM

    This is the level of education and compassion in and for their fellow humans. The Americans could not give a damn, they will just say, “your problem, not ours.”

    Obviously, the drones are doing their job and it is hurting the Taliban. Frankly, this is a sign and foreboding that all is not well in that area. With the present state of affairs in the economy and the NATO supply route, one wonders what the situation will be during elections, if any.

    Salams to Pakistan

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