Only solution to unending violence in Pakistan is to wipe out Taliban: Editorial
Reacting to the recent killings of polio health workers in the country, an editorial in a Pakistani daily has said that the only solution to end this violence is to eliminate the Taliban so that their narrative, too, is destroyed.
Six polio workers, including five women, were gunned down in cold blood in Karachi and Peshawar over the last couple of days, leading the World Health Organisation to suspend its campaign, at least in Karachi.
The editorial in The Express Tribune said that the resurgence of polio could be traced back to Taliban radio campaigns in Swat and the tribal areas to convince the local population that polio vaccinations are part of a nefarious Western campaign to sterilise the population.
The government pushback, which consisted of appointing cricketer Shahid Afridi as an ambassador to convince people that polio vaccinations were badly needed and an expensive media outreach programme seem to have had little success, it said.
The deaths in Karachi only serve to prove that those involved in efforts to eradicate polio are no less than soldiers in the frontline of a battlefield, it added.
It is hard to see what else the government can do to fight back. All the money in the world will not be sufficient to fight back against the Taliban's propaganda. The solution, as always, is to eliminate the Taliban, the editorial said. This requires political will on the part of a reluctant military and civilian government.
The editorial said that if Pakistan does not get serious about the militancy threat, international organisations might abandon the country and the polio endemic will only get worse.
Beefed-up security can only do so much to protect vulnerable workers and ensure children get the vaccinations they need. While such reactive steps are needed, they must be accompanied by an aggressive military campaign to root out the Taliban, it concluded.