ISLAMABAD: Babar bin Atta, the prime minister's focal person on polio eradication, announced his resignation on Friday citing personal reasons.
He announced the decision on Twitter and said he had asked PM Imran Khan to accept relieve him of his duties "because of some personal reasons pertaining to my family".
1: After a stint of over a year as the Prime Ministers Focal Person for Polio, I have asked the PM to relieve me of my duties because of some personal reasons pertaining to my family. During this time I got a chance to work with the best minds in the world 1/4— Babar Atta (@babarbinatta) October 18, 2019
Fake polio markers highlight risks to Pakistan vaccination drive
In a series of tweets, Atta said he did his best to "create that enabling environment where polio eradication is a top priority."
2: When I look back, I am proud to say that I made all possible efforts to create that enabling environment where polio eradication is a top priority. A 24/7 call centre will soon be inaugurated to address all concerns of people who have questions related to the vaccine 2/4
— Babar Atta (@babarbinatta) October 18, 2019
He said that Pakistan's first-ever Perception Management Initiative would be launched by the end of October and hailed it as a potential "game changer" for the country.
3: The countries first ever Perception Management Initiative will be rolled out by the end of this month and the effects of which will be a game changer I assure. I am leaving at a time when the low transmission season is about to commence 3/4— Babar Atta (@babarbinatta) October 18, 2019
Atta said he was leaving at a time when Pakistan was in a strong position to finally overcome the menace of polio. "The opportunity should be capitalised and should not be lost from here," he wrote.
4: Pakistan is in a position that will finally eradicate polio once and for all. The opportunity should be capitalised and should not be lost from here. I forever remain indebted to the love and respect all of you have offered. May Allah be our Guide and Protector 4/4— Babar Atta (@babarbinatta) October 18, 2019
The departure of the PM's focal person comes after a particularly challenging year for polio eradication efforts in Pakistan.
A rise in fake markings and other propaganda drives have contributed to an alarming increase in the number of polio cases reported across Pakistan in 2019.
As per official statistics, there have been 72 confirmed polio cases this year, of which 53 were in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, eight in Sindh, six in Balochistan, and five in Punjab.