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Mushtaq Yusufzai
Monday, September 17, 2012
From Print Edition


PESHAWAR: Dr Hussain A Gezairy, former health minister of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), has publicly appealed Pakistani Taliban in North Waziristan and South Waziristan tribal regions to lift the ban on polio vaccination and save thousands of children from becoming victims of the crippling disease.


He personally came to Peshawar to make the appeal to the Pakistani Taliban who have banned polio vaccination in their respective tribal regions as a mark of protest against the US drone attacks which, the militant leaders claimed, targetted innocent people including women and children.


Talking to a group of journalists here on Sunday, Dr Gezairy said the same vaccine, which has been effectively used to eradicate polio from the majority of the Muslim world including Saudi Arabia has unfortunately become a hotly debated and controversial subject in Pakistan and was now threatening the rest of the world.


“I personally appeal to Hafiz Gul Bahadur, Maulvi Nazir, Mangal Bagh and the senior leadership of the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan to lift the ban on polio vaccination in the name of future generations of the country and rest of the world,” Dr Gezairy said. He emphasised that children and matters related to their health should be kept separate from other issues.


Dr Gezairy is currently serving as adviser to the director general of the WHO on Global Polio Eradication. He shared his personal experience of working as the health minister in Saudi Arabia when polio was eradicated from the country.