ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan stated that Dr Shakil Afridi was partially responsible for the spread of polio in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Express News reported on Friday.
Speaking at the press conference, Imran Khan noted that polio is a very serious issue and that the PTI is committed to eradicating the virus from the province.
While speaking about the various problems facing the anti-polio campaign, he mentioned Dr Shakil Afridi who ran a fake vaccination campaign and collected DNA samples on behalf of the CIA in the bid to locate Osama bin Laden.
Because of him, Imran explained, people have become suspicious of health workers.
Alarmed at the World health Organization (WHO) statement that Peshawar is the largest reservoir of endemic poliovirus, Imran asked the Khyber Pukhtunkhwa Chief Minister Pervez Khattak and Minister for Health Shaukat Yousafzai to immediately commence a crash course against not only polio but child care comprehensively, a press release stated.
WHO had declared the Peshawar as the largest polio virus reservoir in the world and had urged the provincial government to take steps to eradicate the polio virus from the city.
Imran urged the K-P government to undertake an immunisation program on an emergency basis to stamp out all nine diseases, including polio, that fall under the provincial expanded programme on immunisation.
PTI Chairman stressed, “We cannot continue to play with the lives of our future generations when prevention of childhood diseases is readily available”.
“The neglect of previous governments towards immunisation of children including against polio is criminal and today this has endangered our children’s welfare and Pakistan’s international standing.”
Imran further added that K-P government must communicate to parents that immunisation can make the difference between a healthy child and a disabled one.
“The battle must be fought on all fronts to make Pakistan free of all preventable diseases, including polio. We cannot afford failure.”
During the press conference, Imran stated that after attending the All Parties Conference held on September 9, he found out that the North Waziristan military operations have a 40% success rate.
He added that the remaining unsuccessful operations result in suicide blasts and unrest all over the country.
One of the points raised at the All Parties Conference was that all provinces should protect themselves. To this Imran responded that K-P does not have the facilities to do so as 700 police members have been killed in the province.
Imran also addressed the issue of drone strikes in his press conference.
He made a statement directed towards PM Nawaz Sharif, asking whether or not he had asked them to “stop drone strikes.”
Imran also said the issue of drone strikes was supposed to be taken to the UN Security Council by the government, but that didn’t happen.
“Why will the Taliban talk to you now?” Imran said.
Commenting on the criticism PTI faced upon conducting talks with the Taliban, Imran said, “When talks haven’t formally started, how can you criticise us?”
During the press conference, Imran also demanded that Chief Justice Tassaduq Hussain Jilani take suo motu notice of National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) ‘former’ chairperson Tariq Malik’s resignation.
He accused the Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) government of coercing Malik over thumbprint verification of votes cast during the general elections.
The government had removed Malik on the night of December 3 and appointed a new chairperson within hours. However, the Islamabad High Court had reinstated him on interim basis. Malik later resigned from his post on January 10 citing personal reasons.
Imran claimed Malik and his family received threats and that interior ministry failed to address Malik’s security concerns.
The PTI chairperson also said that the new chief of NADRA has already hinted his lack of interest in vote verification.
He called upon the chief justice to realise the national importance of this issue and how the future of democracy in Pakistan depends on this.
Imran alleged that the government was trying to hide the rigging done in May 11, 2013 elections by making changes in NADRA.