Islamabad—Minister of State for National Health Services Saira made a startling revelation in the Senate on Wednesday while responding to the queries of the members when she said that Karachi, Quetta and Peshawar are the main reservoirs of the crippling polio virus.
The disclosure stunned the lawmakers but the Minister was adamant that she has the requisite statistics and data to prove her point. “Technical Advisory Group established to review situation of poliomyelitis has also stated that the three cities including Karachi are reservoirs of polio virus,” she said adding the primary reasons of the spread of the virus is the movement of population in these cities. Saira Afzal Tarar regretted that Pakistan and Afghanistan are the only two countries where the crippling virus still exists.
The first case of polio for the current year was reported in Karachi while two of the total five cases registered so far in the country hail from Peshawar. The Minister, however, said the federal and provincial governments are giving the eradication of polio as the foremost priority and the same is visible from marked reduction in the cases of polio.
The Minister said though the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government was running one day polio campaign which was not sufficient to cover all the children under the age of five years but now more practical approach has been adopted by the provincial government to rid the area under its jurisdiction of the crippling virus.
Responding to the questions of Senators, Advisor on Foreign Affairs, Sartaj Aziz said about 460 prisoners including 113 fishermen are languishing in different Indian jails. He said it was agreed at the Ufa meeting between the prime ministers of two countries that the fishermen from both sides will be released within two weeks time of arrest after verification of their nationalities.
Pakistan has sent a draft memorandum of understanding to New Delhi to give practical shape to the understanding reached between the two neighbors at top level. He said efforts are also being to bring back the civilian prisoners who have served their sentences in the Indian jails.