Public health: ‘Polio vaccination staff threatened with death’

Published: September 18, 2012

"I am out of town on duty and will order the arrest of the suspect as soon as I return to the police station," says SHO Jhandanwala PHOTO: FILE

BHAKKAR: 

A man in Bhakkar allegedly threatened two health workers with death on insisting to immuinise his children against polio on Monday.

Muhammad Bilal Iqbal, a resident of Lashkar-i-Taiba area in Chak No61-DB, is accused of not letting lady health visitors Kulsoom Akhtar and Ishrat Parveen vaccinate his children during an ongoing anti-polio campaign. The complainants stated that Iqbal cussed at them and threatened them with death if they again tried to vaccinate his children. The FIR has been registered under Section 354 (Assault or use of criminal force against a woman or stripping her) and 186 (Obstructing a public servant in discharge of public functions) of the Pakistan Penal Code.

Akhtar told The Express Tribune that the suspect had refused to let the Health Department teams vaccinate his children during the previous anti-polio campaign as well. “He had expelled us from his house and warned us against returning with polio vaccine,” she said.

A citizens’ conciliatory committee latter intervened in the matter. Committee chairman Dr Muhammad Shakir told The Tribune that Iqbal had agreed to let the teams immunise his children. “He has assured me that he will let his children be vaccinated. He will apologise to the officials who visited his house earlier in the day,” he said.

DCO Muhammad Asif Qureshi told The Tribune that the suspect’s consent to the vaccination of his children and apology to the health workers for mistreatment would not stop police from acting against him.

He said he would ensure that the suspect was convicted and had conveyed his concern to the district police officer. The DCO said that 13 cases had so far been reported in Bhakkar where people had refused to allow vaccination of their children.

Of these, six were in Mankera tehsil, four in Kalor Kot and three in Bhakkar.

Jhandanwala Station House Officer Riaz Hussain said that he was out of town on duty and would order the arrest of the suspect as soon as he returned to the police station.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 18th, 2012.

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