In 2007 parents of some 24,000 children in Pakistan refused to give their children immunizations after a radical Muslim clergy opposed the local polio vaccine plan.
Also in 2007, a Pakistani health official in charge of the campaign to inoculate children against polio was killed in a bomb blast, following rumors the vaccination was a US plot to sterilize them.(AFP/File/Ali Arif)
Thanks to regional paranoia to vaccinations, each year 400,000 new cases of TB are reported in Pakistan.
This past week Pakistan actor turned politician Imran Khan endorsed polio vaccinations.
Now he is being threatened by 7th Century Islamists with death.
The Tribune reported:
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) chairman Imran Khan has been threatened by militants after criticising attacks on polio vaccination teams, his party said Thursday.
Imran on December 18 had declared polio workers as soldiers of Islam and said those attacking them were not doing any justice to humanity, Islam or Pakistanis.
Pakistan is one of three countries in the world where polio remains endemic and efforts to stamp it out have been badly affected by attacks on health workers inoculating children.
“Mr Khan received a threat from Ansarul Mujahideen over his remarks over anti-polio campaign,” Shireen Mazari, a senior member of PTI told AFP.
Ansarul Mujahideen is a little-known militant group linked to the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).
Last year TTP banned polio vaccinations in the tribal region of Waziristan, alleging the campaign was a cover for espionage.
Eradication efforts have also suffered due to long-standing rumours that the vaccine was part of a Western plot to sterilise Muslims.