Residents in North Waziristan boycott polio vaccination campaign over water issue.

MIRAN SHAH: Various tribes in North and South Waziristan have unleashed non-cooperation with polio workers as a tool to get their demands accepted.

Several tribes in both tribal districts announced complete boycott of ongoing polio drive and refused to vaccinate their children against polio unless the district government accept their demands.They also chanted slogans against the district administration and alleged it for turning a blind eye towards their problems.

Tribesmen of Khojalkhel tribe in Wana tehsil of South Waziristan took to street and staged a protest, asking the government to resolve the issue of non-availability electricity which had caused waterscarcity. They said that the administration had promised to install a separate power feeder for the area in Wana grid station, but it failed fulfill the promise. Assistant commissioner Wana and district health officer reached the site and tried to convince the protesters to vaccinate their children.

People in Sheva tehsil of North Waziristan also staged a protest against non-availability of water and refused to cooperate with visiting polio teams.

A local elder Noor Muhammad said that tube-well was out of order since last several weeks due to which they have been facing immense problems.

Sajid Khan, another local, complained that they were forced to fetch water from far flung areas in pitchers. “The district administration has installed solar system but the tube-well is yet to be started that created immense shortage of water,” he said.

local people told TNN that an overhead water tank that was constructed recently was razed to the ground due to substandard materials.

A three-day anti-polio drive is underway in tribal areas to vaccinate 896,205 children. Proper security arrangements have been taken for protection of polio teams. The Health Department arranged 4084 teams, 3777 mobile and 215 fixed teams while 92 transit teams to vaccinate children in tribal districts.

It is common practice by locals in tribal and pashtun belt of Pakistan to boycott anti polio drive in protest to non availability of their basic needs. They use boycott to polio vaccination as bargaining chip to compel authorities pay attention to their problems.