It’s true that desperate times call for desperate measures but what is happening in a northern tribal region of Pakistan is way beyond desperate, it’s absurd!
Elders and hundreds of residents staged a demonstration in a village in Lakki Marwat district, which is a highly conservative tribal region in Pakistan. They protested against the government saying as long as they were not provided electricity, they wouldn’t get their children vaccinated against polio.
Village elder Zaitullah Betanai told a news source that ‘polio teams will not be allowed to go about their work until the central government accepts the villagers' demands.’
The protest was undoubtedly very absurd but it highlighted two of the most important issues plaguing the Pakistan, especially the remote villages. Electricity and power outage woes in the country have crossed all barriers of patience. People are fed up with their lives as they are not provided electricity for several hours during the day (and night). And underprivileged villages sometimes have to do without electricity for days. Consequently, poor people who work all day outside in scorching weather conditions have to survive hours and hours without any power.
A lot of demonstrations, sometimes violent, have been held by Pakistanis demanding proper supply/generation of electricity in Pakistan but it rarely has had any effect on the previous government. Let’s see if the one held in Lakki Marwat has some effect on the newly-elected government since it is compromising the health and well-being of children.
Polio vaccination in Pakistan is already suffering a lot. Almost all the countries of the world are polio free except Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria. And the reason behind the existence of the disease in these countries is more or less the same; the strong resistance offered by different Islamist groups. But this time around, it’s the people who are going against the campaign and over a very serious issue.
Local government official in the area is determined to tackle the situation but it would need a lot more than local government representatives to solve the problem, or problems to be more precise, as there are two and not one demands the villagers want to be addressed.