Friday October 07, 2022

Murad may have an answer why people attend Imran’s rallies

By Our Correspondent
August 16, 2022

People attend Imran Khan’s rallies because he is a great entertainer who gives them new information on science, geography, religion and phenology, said Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah on Monday.

“He [the ousted prime minister] says a train with the speed of light is being invented, Germany and Japan have joint borders, Allah doesn’t allow people to be neutral, and Pakistan has 12 seasons,” Shah quoted Khan’s speeches, and said people attended his rallies for humorous entertainment.

The CM was talking to the media at the National Institute of Child Health, where he launched a week-long province-wide polio campaign. Health Minister Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho, Health Secretary Zulfiqar Shah, Karachi Commissioner Iqbal Memon and others were also present on the occasion.

The chief executive said music concerts, theatre plays and films attract people in large numbers, but it does not mean that they would choose a tabla player to rule the country. He said Khan had announced during Lahore’s ‘Azadi Rally’ that he was working for Pakistan’s independence. “This shows he denies the struggle of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah who got us independence 75 years ago. He [Khan] might be a slave, but we as a nation are independent.”

The CM said Rs1 billion has been approved by the cabinet for repairing roads in Karachi. “We’re trying to arrange Rs10 billion for reconstructing roads and drainage systems damaged by heavy rains, and for the welfare of the rain-affected people.”

He said his party has a long history of struggle for freedom of the press and speech. “But no Pakistani media house voiced concerns when Asif Ali Zardari’s recorded interview wasn’t allowed to be aired. Everyone has to respect the law of the land, and the constitution.”

Polio campaign

Shah said the polio campaign will run until August 21 in Karachi and Hyderabad, adding that the drive will start in the remaining divisions of Shaheed Benazirabad, Mirpurkhas, Sukkur and Larkana on August 22. He said oral polio drops would be administered to over 9.9 million under-fives during the campaign.

“In the drive, 33,982 teams with 9,137 supervisors will be participating across the province,” he said, adding that 3,556 partner staff from different organisations would be deployed for supportive supervision and monitoring.

He pointed out that of the more than 9.9 million children to be covered during the polio campaign, over 2.4 million children live in Karachi. “Pakistan reported 14 polio cases this April, and all of them belonged to southern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Recently, seven positive environmental samples have also been found in Lahore, Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Peshawar, Swat, Bannu and Nowshera.”

The CM termed it a great achievement for Sindh’s Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) and his provincial government that all the environmental samples from the province had turned out to be negative. “Sindh hasn’t reported any polio case since July 2020, and the poliovirus was also not found in any of the environmental samples over the past one year.”

He disclosed that after the report of the country’s first case of 2022 in North Waziristan, Sindh’s EOC has increased vigilance at the entry and exit points along the borders with other provinces, and vaccinated 571,566 children, with 13,088 of them belonging to southern KP districts. He added that the efforts of the government have reduced the refusal rate and missed children to around 50 per cent, but this number should be brought down further. He lamented that Pakistan is one of the two polio-endemic countries in the world, the other being Afghanistan. “Polio has no cure but can easily be prevented through vaccination. We’re sending workers on your doorsteps. I’m sure people would cooperate with them, and help save Pakistan’s future and eradicate polio.”