Pakistan is one of the three countries besides Afghanistan and Nigeria where endemic transmission of wild polio virus still continues.
New Delhi: Pakistan is in the last stage of polio eradication. However, whenever a polio vaccination programme emerges, counter-campaigns erupt on social media.
Pakistan is one of the only three countries besides Afghanistan and Nigeria where endemic transmission of wild polio virus still continues. Although Pakistan has made tremendous progress towards eradicating the virus, there was resistance to the government’s efforts with videos and messages appearing on YouTube and Facebook claiming that children get “killed by polio vaccine”.
Although these messages were rebutted by experts in the past, such posts continue to emerge on social media.
Dr Rana Safdar, National Coordinator for Polio Eradication, told the Dawn newspaper that while print and electronic media have been sensitised about reporting on polio vaccination campaigns in the past few years, social media still poses as a challenge. “Whenever a campaign starts against polio vaccination on social media, we face resistance,” Safdar is quoted as saying.
Amnesty nudges Pak to resolve cases of enforced disappearances
International human rights organisation Amnesty international has urged Pakistan to resolve the cases of enforced disappearances in the country, especially in conflict zones.
The official statement of the organisation was issued on 19 March that says, “No one has ever been held accountable for an enforced disappearance in Pakistan.”
“As an elected member of this council, Pakistan must uphold the highest human rights standards — to not just acknowledge violations, but take concrete steps to end impunity for them,” it read.
According to Amnesty, there are more than 700 pending cases of enforced disappearances from Pakistan alone. Pakistan’s State Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances has listed 100 more such reports from the country. The list includes bloggers, journalists, students, peace activists and other human rights defenders.
Australian woman on a quest to clean Islamabad
An Australian woman, who did not wish to be named, unintentionally started a movement in Islamabad to maintain cleanliness in the neighbourhood.
The movement started in September 2017, when retired government officer Muhammed Salman witnessed this woman cleaning the 1.2 km long Kachnar Park by herself as a “civic duty” . The next day, he joined her in the mission to remove all the rubbish from the park that was not being efficiently maintained by the civic body concerned.
Around half a dozen more volunteers joined the movement within a week of this incident, picking up garbage and disposing it of properly. The park now has over 200 volunteers comprising doctors, professors, journalists, government servants and businessmen who call themselves ‘Friends of Kachnar Park’ (FKP). They come to the park at least once a week to clean it up. The volunteers also donate money for purchasing tools to maintain the park.
CJP takes suo motu notice of funeral passing through filthy road
The Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP), Saqib Nisar, took suo motu notice of a picture circulating on social media that showed a funeral procession passing through a sewage-filled narrow street.
The CJP brought attention of the attorney general towards the photo in the hearing. “People are walking to offer funeral prayers and they have been left impure [due to walking through the unsanitary water],” the Dawn quoted Justice Nisar saying.
He added, “We will take the MNA (member of national assembly), councillor and other officials of whatever area is depicted in the photo to task [over the unsanitary conditions].”
However, this course of action is also being seen as an overstepping of boundaries by the Supreme Court, after The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) had asked the SC in 2011 to restrain taking up suo motu proceedings, as overuse of the provision could endanger the rule of law.