Faking children’s illness in Peshawar was a conspiracy against polio drive: report


PESHAWAR: An inquiry report presented by a committee, formed to investigate the alleged illness of schoolchildren after being administered the anti-polio vaccine in Peshawar, on Thursday stated that no child was affected by the vaccine and it was a part of a planned conspiracy.

The committee was formed by the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government after over 40 children from a school in Mashokhel village were brought to a hospital with complaints of diarrhoea, nausea and headache after being administered the anti-polio vaccine.

The committee in its report which was posted on Twitter by Babar Atta, the focal person to Prime Minister Imran Khan on polio eradication, stated, “All children were sent home in stable condition, while some children were kept for observation on the insistence of the parents. Not a single child was kept for overnight stay. The rumours started spreading on the social media created pandemonium in and around Peshawar.”

The report further said it found that nine different batches of the polio vaccine were provided to KP and were “all provided in good condition to all districts of the province”. Three different batches were provided to Peshawar and the same batches sent to Abbottabad, Nowshera, Tank, Kohat and all seven districts of Malakand. The cold chain was maintained and there was nothing wrong with the vaccines.

“The government collectively responded to the situation in a very organised and professional manner after attending the emergency and establishing this fact that it was a fake alarm. Later on, the media and government not only effectively countered the propaganda but also exposed it as well,” the report said.

The committee based on evidence, facts, the circumstances, statements and discussion s made with the concerned staff is of the strong opinion that it was not a medical situation or emergency rather it was a pre-planned conspiracy against a national cause wherein Pakistan remains to be among the three unfortunate countries who have failed to eradicate polio. It seems certain opportunistic elements tried to sabotage the initiate of national importance, the report added.

The report also identified two fake doctors in UC Umar Bala — Misal Shah and Javed — who spread rumours about the immunisation campaign.

The committee also mentioned the bravery of Burhan, the principal of Government Primary School Mashopiki, who gave the staff of the hospital protection at his school.

Earlier this week, residents broke down the main gate and set fire at the Mashokhel Hospital in Peshawar after children allegedly fell sick after being administered anti-polio drops.

Residents had staged a demonstration outside the hospital and damaged the property. The protesters also broke down the main gate of the hospital and set the building on fire.