Militants can't stop campaign against polio: Zardari
01 January, 2013
KARACHI: Reiterating the commitment of the government to undertake every possible effort for complete elimination of polio from the country, President Asif Ali Zardari on Monday said that the government was aware of the challenges to anti-polio campaigns, especially in some areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and FATA, and was employing locally appropriate solutions in accordance with local traditions and norms.
He said that those who were opposing the anti-polio campaigns on ideological basis were in fact misleading the people.
The president said that the government was determined not to permit militants to deprive our children of basic healthcare.
He was addressing a specially convened meeting here at Bilawal House to review the progress made so far in fighting the menace of polio from the country. Spokesperson to the president Senator Farhatullah Babar said that the president thanked the international community for assisting the country in the cause of polio eradication.
Acknowledging valuable contributions of the Gates Foundation, the president remarked that international cooperation was critical to the success of anti-polio campaign.
He said that the global fight against polio will not be won until we eradicate polio from all countries, including Pakistan.
The president said that he feels a special responsibility towards eradicating polio as this campaign was first launched in 1994 by the government of Benazir Bhutto.
He said that Benazir Bhutto was the first prime minister to administer polio drops to her child Aseefa Bhutto Zardari who is now Pakistan's ambassador for polio eradication and was carrying forward the mission of her great mother.
The president said that Pakistan may have come a long way from mid-nineties but it was not completely polio free.
He said that we must make Pakistan completely polio free. We will do it, he resolved.
Shahnaz Wazir Ali briefed the meeting about latest situationvis-a-vis polio cases in the country and various measures taken by the government to expand outreach to the children especially those of far flung areas, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, FATA and other remote parts of the country. The chief secretaries of the provinces also gave a briefing on polio situation in their respective provinces.
Aseefa Bhutto Zardari in her remarks said that polio eradication from the country was one of the causes for which her mother Shaheed Benazir Bhutto fought and stood for.
‘My mother fought for a peaceful, progressive and prosperous Pakistan.' She said that by assassinating her mother, the militants thought they could stop the cause that she fought and stood for.
She said that we are determined to prove them wrong. We will continue to fight in her name and for many others who lost their lives for Pakistan.
While strongly condemning the attack on polio teams in some parts of the country, Aseefa said that we must not allow a few to dictate our action. This is our Pakistan, she said and added that every Pakistani child has a right to basic health care. It is our responsibility to provide them with the services required to keep them safe and healthy.
Urging all to support the cause regardless of party or any other affiliation, she said that she had met with the frontline workers in Gadap and Baldia.