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”.
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.
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.
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.