Pakistan's ex-polio focal person seeks apology from UK daily over polio cover-up allegations

Babar bin Atta denies the 'baseless' accusations

News Desk November 08, 2019
Babar bin Atta with Prime Minister Imran Khan. PHOTO: TWITTER

The country’s former focal person on polio eradication, Babar bin Atta, denounced a report published by British daily The Guardian and sought an apology over accusations of “covering-up” a polio outbreak.

Babar termed the allegations "baseless".

“I wish, I just wish, if Guardian had contacted me even once for my version. They even don’t know that Pakistan reported a bigger VDPV outbreak in 2016/17 in Balochistan. Noone blamed Ayesha Raza (PMLN) & today the same Attention seeking Ayesha Raza is quoted by The Guardian,” he said in a tweet on Friday.

The former focal person further said that he would be writing to the publication to “correct the record and issue an apology”, otherwise he would pursue legal options.

According to the report in the British publication, a dozen children have been infected with the P2 strain of the virus, which causes paralysis and primarily affects those under the age of five.

PM Imran's focal person for polio eradication quits

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health Dr Zafar Mirza also denied any no cover-up and said the "Sabin-like type 2 derived virus outbreak in Pakistan is vigilantly being monitored & appropriately responded".

He further added that the “situation is under control” and a “full-fledged” campaign will start on November 11.

The report added that the P2 strain had previously been eliminated from Pakistan. Polio exists in three different strands, P1, P2, and P3, with P2 notorious as the most contagious and most vicious in its impact on those infected.

Five polio cases confirmed in K-P; year's count rises to 32

Alongside Afghanistan, Pakistan is one of only two countries in the world that has not entirely eradicated polio.




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