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Why Is Pakistan Taliban Vehemently Against Polio Vaccination Drive In The Country?

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The Pakistan Taliban (TTP)  seem to be emulating the Afghan Taliban ideology and has warned people of severe consequences if found playing loud music or women going out without being accompanied by a male relative. The Pakistan Taliban meanwhile continues to threaten the polio vaccination drive in the country which they believe is an intelligence-gathering mission.

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The one-page message in Urdu seen by people in Miramshah, the headquarters of North Waziristan tribal district, on Wednesday cautioned the people: “We remind you [residents] that similar statements issued by the Taliban several times in the past had fallen on deaf ears, but this time we are going to take to task those who violate the Taliban order.”

The message further said: “There will be no use of DJs, neither inside the house nor in open fields and those ignoring the warning will be responsible for consequences.”

Polio workers have been asked to do finger-marking of children during the vaccination campaign but told not to administer polio drops to children or be ready to face dire consequences for defying the instruction.

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The pamphlet prohibited playing loud music on the computer and other shops with a warning that any place from where songs were heard could be blown up any time.

“Women shouldn’t go out of their homes alone as it is harmful for our society. There is one informer of Mujahideen in every three people and it was a misconception on the part of the people to think we will not get information about non-compliance of our order. Follow the order or be ready to face the worst consequences,” the message concluded.

Why TTP Opposes Polio Vaccination?

In 2011, the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency used the services of now-imprisoned Pakistani doctor, Shakil Afridi, and local health officials to stage a bogus vaccination program in an attempt to trace and confirm Osama Bin Laden’s location in Abbottabad in Pakistan.

This ploy was designed in an effort to gain more knowledge on Bin Laden’s location and collect DNA samples of Osama Bin Laden’s children from blood left on the needles used to deliver the Hepatitis B vaccination.

The CIA’s vaccination campaign has had severe effects in Pakistan with at least 70 polio workers being killed and encountering innumerable attacks. The Pakistan Taliban believes that vaccination campaigns are a facade for intelligence gathering and tracking the operatives.

In 2015, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government issued arrest warrants for 1,200 parents for rejecting the polio vaccine. 512 people were arrested on the charge but were later freed after signing an undertaking that they would not oppose vaccination.

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