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Polio outbreak cover-up: Babar Bin Atta terms Guardian report ‘absolutely baseless’

Polio outbreak cover-up: Babar Bin Atta terms Guardian report ‘absolutely baseless’
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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan’s former focal person on polio has refuted an international media outlet’s recent report on an alleged “cover-up over fresh polio outbreak” in Pakistan, terming it to be “absolutely baseless”.

Babar Bin Atta, the PM’s former focal person on polio eradication and Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), tweeted on Friday that the Guardian’s report was absolutely baseless and that he was “writing to them to correct the record & issue an apology, failing which, I shall pursue my legal options”.

Atta added: “I shall be sending relevant documents to @guardian to prove their “He Said – She Said” report wrong. Enough of this slander.”

Prior to that, he had tweeted a quick response to the report, mentioning first how the “reporter is based in Delhi” and that she “did not contact me even once”.

In response to a tweet to him, he said “noone [sic] from Guardian approached me even for an iota of a comment”.

The PM’s special assistant on national health services regulations and coordination, Dr Zafar Hussain Mirza, also spoke in favour of Atta, noting that there had been “absolutely no coverup”.

“Such outbreaks are being reported from countries even after Polio eradication e.g. Nigeria, China, Indonesia, Congo,” he wrote, adding a statement issued November 7 by the Pakistan Polio Eradication Programme.

What does the WHO say about Pakistan’s polio programme?

The statement noted that the programme “detected transmission of Sabin-Like Type 2 Derived (SLT2D) poliovirus through its disease surveillance system” and that “the virus has caused seven cases of paralysis in recent months, mainly in the Northern parts of the country”.

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