Pakistan is a fertile land for conspiracy theories to mushroom. One of many such theories is the fear that anti-polio drives are conducted to control Muslim population. This narrative propagated by several cleric groups gained broader acceptance in the rural settings of the country. Especially, in the western provinces, i.e., Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) and Baluchistan of the country, putting anti-polio campaigns to halt have become a norm. Many a time in different areas of the country the workers have been shot dead in the line of duty.

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However, in a surprising turn of events, religious scholars in the district of Lakki Marwat have stood against the prevailing narrative. While speaking at a seminar in the District Headquarters Complex, the religious scholars refuted any notion that immunization of children against polio is against Shariah or Islam. The event is one of the rare occasions where religious authorities have accepted the efficacy of modern medication and vaccination.

Nonetheless, the initiative is a good one. The comments of Mufti Ihsanullah are a reflection of progressive thinking within the religious tradition. Such moves should be replicated on a more provincial and national level to increase the reverberation of the message of the mufti as he asked people to cooperate with polio teams in their efforts to eradicate the disease from the country. Hopefully, the words of different religious scholars who spoke on occasion will gain traction and people will shun their irrational beliefs.

It will be more helpful if the Council of Islamic Ideology or perhaps the Wafaq-ul-Madaris also comments in favor of vaccination campaigns. Such steps will help people in relying more on their rational faculties rather than on teachings of semi-literate Mullahs. A Meta-narrative in support of polio vaccination from progressive religious scholars is the need of the hour as Pakistan is one of the few countries where the disease is yet to be defeated.