The police have arrested on Tuesday a man on charges of sabotaging an anti-polio vaccination drive in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Mashokhel village.
Nazar Muhammad has been accused of spreading misinformation about the anti-polio campaign. He reportedly instructed some children to pretend that they were suffering from headache after getting polio vaccines.
EXPOSED :: Watch how young innocent kids were made to lay down in hospital beds and pretend they’re suffering due to Polio vaccination, to give a wrong message to masses regarding the #Polio campaign; SHAME on such people who’re playing with the future of Pakistan ! #Peshawar pic.twitter.com/1f6ZWrrOK7
— PTI KP (Official) (@PTIKPOfficial) April 22, 2019
Babar Bin Atta, focal person to PM Imran Khan on polio eradication, confirmed the news on social media. “Remember one thing: polio vaccine is completely safe,” he wrote on Twitter following the incident.
A three-day anti-polio drive started in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on Monday. During the campaign, thousands of polio workers visited schools and madrassas to administer the oral polio vaccine to children between the ages of five to 10 years.
During the drive on Monday, a mob attacked and set fire to a small hospital in Mashokhel, Peshawar, over panic that dozens of children had fallen sick after what people said was the administration of an anti-polio vaccine.
Residents of the area gathered at the gate of the Basic Health Unit Ayubkhel to stage a protest. Demonstrators broke the gate of the clinic as well as its walls and stormed inside. The mob ransacked the property and set it on fire. The police reached the scene and dispersed the mob. Operations SSP Zahoor Afridi said that people grew agitated after rumours spread about the vaccine, which was administered at a private school in the area.
Following the vaccination, the school principal complained that some children got sick. A doctor and the polio eradication officer in the area examined the children and declared them to be alright. The parents were informed and took their children to the hospital.
A Hayatabad Medical Complex spokesperson said that they received 78 children from two different schools of Mashokhel and all of them were in stable condition. “Doctors have examined them and they are all fine but panicked,” the spokesperson said, adding that parents and attendants with the children were not cooperating with the doctors.
Following this, Atta said that the government has decided the anti-polio drive will go as planned.
Police have registered a case against 12 people for spreading misinformation and started an investigation against 400 people for ransacking the hospital.