LOWER DIR - Religious clerics belonging to core group of the National Research and Development Foundation (NRDF) on Sunday urged local communities to administer anti-polio vaccines to their children below five years of age so that the country could be made polio-free by the end of 2012.

In this regard, separate community meetings organised by the NRDF at Shamshi Khan and Bajauro Talash on Sunday were held. Local elders and notables of the areas attended the meeting. The NRDF district core group members Maulana Zahid Khan addressed the meeting at Bajauro while Mufti Khalid Mehmood at Shamshi Khan. The NRDF district coordinator Muhammad Abdullah briefed the participants about the foundation activities regarding efforts to end polio in the region. Religious clerics on the occasion said that polio had been a major problem confronted with Pakistan.

They said backward nations in the world had overcome the disease but despite government hectic efforts cases of polio were being detected in different parts of the country. They said the Pakistanis would have to face difficulties during Haj and Umra if the country was not made polio free. “Islam is a natural religion and does not oppose medical treatment to prevent human beings of illness,” Mufti Khali said, adding that people would be made aware about harms of polio through Fridays’ sermons and mosques’ announcements.

He said general public should extend full cooperation to health department in eradicating polio from the region. The NRDF coordinator Muhammad Abdullah informed the participants that next campaign in selected union councils of Dir Lower against polio would be started from March 12.

He said that NRDF planned to hold training workshops for 100 ulema and teachers at Timergara in next month.