ISLAMABAD – Chairman Senate Syed Nayyar Hussain Bokhari has said that eradication of polio from country is an area of high priority for the present government as only healthy child could become productive citizen and useful member of society and could contribute to national development.

He was expressing these views in a meeting with delegation of Rotary International (RI) led by its president Kalyan Banerjee. The Chairman told the delegation that in Islamabad there was decline of number of polio cases but 4 cases of polio in slums and suburbs had been identified due to influx of affected people from other parts of country. He said that ICT and CDA administration was trying to eradicate polio from the areas of their respective jurisdiction. “We will not tolerate any negligence in this regard,” he emphasised the point. He told the Rotarians that polio campaign was going well except in FATA and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and there was dire need for proactive role of senators from these areas for awareness of generation and boosting the polio eradication campaign.

The president told the Chairman that Rotarians were actively involved in polio eradication campaign around the world, assisting local community for better sanitation and ensuring supply of clear drinking water. In Pakistan, our top priority is to fulfil our commitment to children and save children by finishing polio. We have around 1.2 billion dollars for polio eradication in the world and 100 million dollars allocated for Pakistan but there is still existing gap of 24 million dollars, he added. He stressed the need for active involvement of senators of the most affected areas like FATA, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in their villagers and towns via engaging their communities.

He told the Chairman that high level of commitment did exist in Pakistan but little more ownership particularly at implementation side (DDO / EDO levels) could produce better results. He told the Chairman that Karachi, Pasin and FATA were reservoirs of polio and they had to grab them on urgent footing. One of the delegates from Pakistan told the Chairman that effective TV campaign utilizing services of Shahid Afridi in Pusto was already in progress to push the message across for polio eradication for next NID. Services of stars like Aisam-ul-Haq and Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and other renowned artists of the country can be sought for this national cause.

The Chairman offered all-out assistance to Rotarians for this cause and said that strong collaboration between government of Pakistan and Rotarians could help eradicate this menace of polio for once and all from the country. It is pertinent to mention here that Pakistan is one the three countries along with Nigeria and Afghanistan who have still to end the polio cases while rest of the world including India, have successfully eradicated it.

The delegates from Rotary International included RI president Kalyan Banerjee, Binota Jee (First Lady of Rotary International), Dr. Perves Ahsan (District Governor Rotary 3272, Pakistan & Afghanistan), Maimoona Pervez (Spouse of District Governor), Aziz Memon (Past District Governor & National Chair for Polio Plus), Shakil Ansari (Past District Governor & Chairman Eastern Mediterranean Regional Polio Plus Committee), Iftikhar Ahmed (District Governor Elect), Shehzad Ahmed Mir (Past president), Rotarian Iftikhar Awan, president Elect Rotarian Ibrahim and president Rotary Club Islamabad cosmopolitan Rotarian Dr Abdul Basit.