ISLAMABAD - The National Assembly, on the last private members day of the 11th session, unanimously passed a resolution calling for implementation of polio immunisation programme with the greatest urgency to ensure Pakistan is made free of the debilitating disease.
The lawmakers from both sides of aisle after thoroughly discussing the reasons and precautions about the crippling disease vowed to make Pakistan a polio-free country.
“Polio immunisation programme be implemented with the greatest urgency to ensure that Pakistan is made free of this debilitating disease as soon as possible. All members of this assembly also commit themselves to monitor and implement this campaign in their respective areas of influence,” said a unanimously passed resolution, read out by Saira Afzal Tarar, the minister of state for national health services, regulations and coordination.
The house witnessed plethora of suggestions and fears about the polio disease, as a lawmaker of the JUI-F even blamed the United States for spreading polio germs in the country through drone campaign.
Winding up debate, Tarar said polio is a national issue, which needs to be dealt with seriously. She also supported the opposition party’s proposal that legislators should oversee polio campaign in their respective constituencies.
The minister also warned that polio cases are increasing in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and the federal government is ready to facilitate provinces in this regard. “There is a need to review this programme thoroughly,” she admitted.
Taking part in the debate, JUI-F lawmaker Maulana Jamaluddin blamed the US drone campaign for spreading polio in the country. There is a need to ascertain link between polio and drones that fly over the tribal areas of the country, he felt. “They kill us with drone strikes and spread polio germs,” he remarked.
Another lawmaker from PML-N Major (Retd) Tahir Iqbal drew the attention of the house towards sudden increase in polio cases this year. “What is the reason behind it...Is it due to fake vaccination?” he questioned.
A PPP lawmaker Nafeesa Shah said that polio has become a diplomatic issue now. “It is no more health issue,” he said brushing aside assumptions for connecting drones with poliovirus. She further opined to leave metro-bus projects and pay all attention to polio vaccinations.
Taking part in the debate, Aasia Naz Tanoli from JUI-F opined that all the lawmakers should help facilitate polio eradication campaign in their constituencies. “This is an issue of the coming generation. It should be dealt with seriously,” she added.
PkMAP lawmaker Abdul Rahim Mandokhail on his turn said that all parliamentarians should seriously take the responsibility to eradicate crippling disease in the country. “It is quite strange that those working for polio eradication are termed as criminals while those against polio campaigns are doing Jihad,” he added.
JI lawmaker Sahibzada Yaqoob said there is a need to provide proper security cover to polio workers.
The house also passed two resolutions including ‘withdrawal of subsidy on commodities of daily use in Gilgit-Baltistsan’ and ‘steps to establish an engineering university at Sialkot’.
A report regarding ‘the constitutional (amendment) bill, 2014’ was also laid before the house. The statement of objects says that under article 36 of the constitution, the state is obliged to safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of minorities. There were 10 reserved seats for non-Muslims when the number of general seats was 207. The minorities feel that their representations should be increased in provincial and national assemblies.
Earlier, four motions were also adopted in the house.