A cleric in Muzaffargarh declared the polio campaign ‘un-Islamic’ and announced at the local mosque that Jihad should be carried out against the visiting polio vaccination team.
According to details, the local polio team entered Muzaffargarh’s rural Khan Pur Bagga Sher area and asked local families to cooperate with the campaign.
When the local cleric, Maulvi Ibrahim Chisti found out about the campaign, he immediately went to the biggest mosque in the area and declared that polio drops are ‘poison’ and against Islam. He added that if the polio team forced anybody to partake in the vaccination campaign, then Jihad was ‘the only option’.
As a result, the polio team returned to Muzaffargarh city without carrying out immunisation, and reported the matter to Muzaffargarh Health Executive District Officer (EDO) Dr Aashiq Hussain, who in turn informed the Muzaffargarh District Coordination Officer (DCO) Tahir Khursheed.
A police inquiry was ordered, after which a raid was carried out in the cleric’s area. However, Chisti had already escaped by the time the police arrived.
Residents said the cleric had tried to convince them that the polio campaign was a ‘western conspiracy’ to render the population impotent.
After the police raid, the polio team returned to Khan Pur Bagga Sher to implement the polio immunisation campaign.
Published In The Express Tribune, June 13th, 2012.
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