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

    Clinton, Trump and the 'Woman’s Card'

    Ask supporters of Democratic front-runner in US presidential campaign, and they’ll tell you Republican presidential candidate is playing a dangerous hand

    Russian Censorship Group Seeks Chinese Help to Better Control Internet

    At recent Safe Internet League forum in Moscow, speakers from both nations underscored desire for authorities to further limit and control information online

    Video Makeshift Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Free classes in Islamabad park serve a few of the country’s nearly 25 million out-of-school youths; NGO cites ‘education crisis’

    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.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora