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‘Father of Taleban’ backs polio vaccines Attacks on Pakistani polio teams kill 3

PESHAWAR, Pakistan, Dec 13, (Agencies): Aradical Pakistani religious scholar known as the “Father of the Taleban” has issued a fatwa urging parents to immunise their children against polio and other fatal diseases, adding that vaccinations comply with Islamic law. The edict by Maulana Sami-ul- Haq, who heads the hardline Dar-ul- Uloom Haqqania seminary, comes more than a year after the Pakistani Taleban banned polio immunisation following a fake CIA vaccination programme meant to help track al- Qaeda chief Osama Bin Laden. The ban has led to a surge in polio cases in Pakistan that threatens worldwide efforts to eradicate the infectious crippling disease, which is also endemic in Nigeria and Afghanistan. Taleban fighters have launched regular attacks on medical workers and security personnel resulting in at least 25 deaths since the June 2012 prohibition on inoculation. But according to a statement signed by Haq and dated Oct 30, parents should disregard the militants’ warnings. Meanwhile, attacks on polio teams in northwest Pakistan on Friday killed a polio worker and two policemen assigned to protect one of the teams, police and a government official said.

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