Pakistan’s economy, image linked to polio eradication: Imran

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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday urged the nation to join the government’s polio eradication efforts to ensure uninterrupted national economic development and for building a positive image of the country.

Addressing the launching ceremony of the National Immunisation Campaign, the prime minister said that eradication of the polio virus was vital for both the children as well as the future of the nation.

During the three-day drive starting on Dec 16, around 39.6 million children would be vaccinated across the country by around 260,000 vaccinators.

The campaign is being held in what is called the low season in which the virus usually weakens due to winter and is eliminated through such vaccination drives.

The prime minister, who earlier also administered polio drops to children, advised mothers having children of up to five years age, to approach vaccination centres personally in case they have been missed by vaccination teams.

He said unfortunately Pakistan was among two countries still infected with the polio virus in the world.

Terming the polio workers heroes, he said they had sacrificed a lot in their endeavour to purge the country of the polio virus.

They had been killed by militants and also braved harsh weather conditions and visited risky areas to vaccinate children, he added.

The prime minister told the gathering that the spread of polio virus in Pakistan could have serious repercussions, particularly for workers going abroad for earning, besides discouraging tourists to visit the country.

He said with the national economy getting stability, increasing exports and enriching the country’s positive outlook, it was essential to eradicate polio to continue the pace of national development.

The prime minister also thanked donors for extending their cooperation to Pak­istan in its course of be­­coming a polio-free nation.

Children’s safety

The meeting was attended by Minister for Education Shafqat Mehmood, Minister for Human Rights Dr Shireen Mazari, Special Assistant on Accountability Shahzad Akbar, Interior secretary Yousaf Naseem Khokhar, provincial inspectors general of police (IGPs) and senior officers of the ministry of interior and provincial home departments.

Besides, Prime Minister Khan presided over a meeting about the effective control of child-related crimes, particularly their sexual abuse. He said that as the provision of safe environment to children was not only the responsibility of the government but that of every individual of society and the government would take all possible measures in that respect.

“The children are the future of a society. Crimes against the future of society and especially sexual abuse of innocent children are unfortunate and shameful for the whole society,” he said.

The prime minister pointed out that in the era of modern technology, an enormous increase in sexual crimes against children had been witnessed.

Most of the parents, owing to some social reasons or different compulsions, hesitated from timely informing the police or registration of cases, which not only helped the criminals escape from the law but also destroyed the lives of affected children, he added.

The prime minister was given a briefing on crimes against children with focus on sexual abuse, child-related sexual material, some recent unfortunate incidents and the administrative measures to check such crimes.

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