NGO denies talks with Taliban over anti-polio ban

NRDF chairman appeals for international mediation.


Hassan Ali June 27, 2012

PESHAWAR: Responding to media reports, the National Research and Development Foundation (NRDF) denied carrying out negotiations with North-Waziristan militant groups to allow the initiation of their polio vaccination campaign.

Media reports published in various national newspapers said that the field coordinators of NRDF along with influential clerics of the area had initiated negotiations in its own capacity to persuade militants to allow polio vaccination in the area which was scheduled to be launched in July.

“We have never conducted negotiations with Taliban for allowing us to initiate polio vaccination campaign in the area. And if we ever had to do it, we will do it not without taking the political administration onboard,” Chairman NRDF Advocate Jalaluddin said while responding to the media reports.

Earlier, the Hafiz Gul Bahadar faction of the Taliban distributed pamphlets in North Waziristan that said polio vaccination campaigns will only be allowed in their area after the complete cessation of US drone strikes.

Expressing opposition to the militant activity in the tribal area, Jalaluddin empathised with the demands of the tribal people and appealed to the United Nations to put diplomatic pressure on the US to end the drone strikes. He said the drone attacks have made it difficult to carry out humanitarian work in the volatile tribal area.

“It is not our mandate to carry negotiations with Taliban rather it is the duty of the government to create such an environment in which we can pursue our humanitarian activities,” Maulana Jehanzeb, member of the provincial core group of the NRDF, told the media.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 27th, 2012.

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