The government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan on Wednesday sealed and deregistered seven private schools for allegedly spreading rumours about the anti-polio campaign in the country, Dawn reported. The development follows the burning of a basic health unit in Mashokhel village on April 22 after word spread that children were being hospitalised because they were administered with the anti-polio dose.
On April 27, the Pakistan government suspended the anti-polio campaign and post-campaign evaluation “for an indefinite period” following the rising number of attacks on polio workers across the country. The government had sought to conduct a nationwide campaign to administer anti-polio drops to 39 million children under five years of age.
Peshawar Deputy Commissioner Mohammad Ali Asghar told the Pakistani daily that authorities will seal and deregister three more schools on Thursday. The official said that the authorities will implement the findings in a report that had identified the errant schools soon. “We will act on the report’s findings in letter and spirit as we have to establish the government’s writ and can’t allow anyone to take the law into their hands,” Asghar said.
An unidentified official attributed the April 22 incident to elected representatives, prayer leaders and some anti-vaccine lobbyists who were putting health department workers at risk.
Provincial chief secretary Mohammad Salim Khan said Pakistan was under a global scanner to crack down on the spread of polio.