While we are stuck in the stone age trying to decide whether our sensitive beliefs are open to the idea of polio vaccines, other countries are already well on their way to completely eradicate it from their society. India is included in this list. No incidences of polio were found in 2013, and by next month, they stand to be recognized as a polio-free nation. It comes as no surprise then that our indifference to the polio issue has caught up with us, as India will make it mandatory for Pakistani citizens travelling to the country to have their vaccination records with them on their arrival.

Yet another issue that puts our travelling privileges at stake, the government needs to realize the enormity of the problem before it starts to haunt them even more so than now. Our country is going in the opposite direction, and is one of the precious few in which the incidence of the disease increased.  Polio affects the lives of countless citizens in this country, and is a cause for immeasurable grief to those who are affected by it. The ‘lucky’ ones are left handicapped, while others succumb to the disease with startling frequency. One cannot even begin to quantify the impact this has on the individuals concerned and the families that have to come to terms with the fragility of life.

It was only a matter of time before this issue was brought to the forefront, and repeated warnings to the government to rectify the issue have fallen on deaf ears. The failure to protect the workers trying to address the issue and administer vaccines to the population is the biggest problem currently. Not only is the state faltering by allowing terrorists to target its local health workers, but their deaths are also affecting all those that needed their assistance.

Shahbaz Sharif, Tariq Fatemi and their entourage should be glad that their visit will conclude before this new requirement is imposed for it would really be the icing on the cake if one of our government officials was asked to provide a vaccination certificate – or worse, found to be unvaccinated. Given our proclivity to trip over our own feet with such regularity, this kind of shame would be testament of the trend for Pakistan to be poles apart from the rest of the world in matters concerning the welfare of the public.