News / Asia

Pakistan: Indian Polio Crackdown 'Unfortunate'

FILE - A Pakistani child receives a polio vaccine by a health worker in Islamabad, Nov. 26, 2013.
FILE - A Pakistani child receives a polio vaccine by a health worker in Islamabad, Nov. 26, 2013.
Ayaz Gul
Officials in Pakistan have criticized as "overreaction" recent cross-border travel restrictions India has imposed to prevent the polio virus from entering the country.

Pakistan, Nigeria and Afghanistan are the only three nations across the globe where the crippling disease remains endemic.

Last week, the Indian diplomatic mission in Islamabad announced that travelers from Pakistan, both adults and children, would require mandatory polio vaccination at least six weeks prior to undertaking a trip to India.

The mission said that that the policy, which will come into effect from January 30, 2014, was meant "to safeguard India's polio-free status attained after sustained efforts and investment".

But Pakistani authorities have criticized the move.

Pakistan's advisor on national security and foreign affairs, Sartaj Aziz, told reporters in Islamabad late on Saturday, "It [India's polio ban] is unfortunate. I think it is an overreaction because people traveling from Afghanistan [to India] face no such restrictions."

He added that Pakistan was strengthening its anti-polio drive so the disease did not become "a pretext" for denying visas to Pakistanis.

Indian officials, however, insist that the new policy is applicable to travelers not just from Pakistan but all countries where polio is endemic or where victims are reported.

The ban, many believe, will make cross-border travel difficult for hundreds of thousands of Pakistanis who have families in India.

Pakistan's polio immunization efforts have suffered critical setbacks in recent years. Islamist militants linked to the al-Qaida terror network in insurgency-hit northwestern tribal areas have banned national vaccination drive on suspicions the American CIA is using it to gather information.

In addition, attacks elsewhere in the country on polio teams have left some members of vaccination teams and security personal escorting them dead. The suspicions about the anti-polio drive and the deadly attacks are cited as primary reasons for a surge in polio cases in Pakistan.

World Health Organization recorded 72 cases so far this year in Pakistan compared to 58 in 2012. The WHO confirmed last month that an outbreak of polio in war-hit Syria that affected more than dozen children was linked to a strain of the virus from Pakistan.

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

Video Scientists Say We Need Softer Robots

Today’s robots are mostly hard, rigid machines, with sharp edges and forceful movements, but researchers at Carnegie Mellon University say they should be softer and therefore safer More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Raghu Nandan B S from: Bengaluru
December 16, 2013 12:07 PM
Yeah, These Pakistanis get something or the other to mock on us! but who gives a damn?? :P

by: John
December 15, 2013 10:53 PM
The Indian requirement seems reasonable to me. Pakistanis have exercised their free choice by refusing to eliminate this disease. The Indians therefore require them to take the necessary precautions to avoid inflicting it on Indians. I note the killing in Pakistan of a large number of sheep from Australia on similar grounds.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs