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Pakistan launches crackdown on polio vaccination sabotage

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on the people behind a conspiracy to sabotage a countrywide polio vaccination campaign by faking illness

in children and provoking angry protests in the country.

Panic and fear gripped the city on Monday as angry parents set a hospital on fire and held polio vaccination

workers hostage for some time after fake news and videos made the rounds on social media about children falling ill

due to polio drops.

“A case has been registered against 12 people behind the conspiracy,” Babar Atta, the prime minister’s spokesman on polio matters, said.

Raids are being conducted to arrest them, he said.

Atta said that it all started in a school which was taking part in the campaign for the first time after years of refusing polio drops for its pupils.

A teacher had asked children to fake illness and rushed them to hospital, he said.

The three-day campaign, starting from April 22 and targeting over 39 million children across the country, including 6.8 million in

the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa region of which Peshawar is the capital, will continue as per schedule, he said.

Pakistan and Afghanistan are among only a few countries in the world where polio is still endemic.

The UN-funded vaccination campaign has helped Pakistan to control the spread.

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