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Pakistan Detains Parents For Refusing Child Polio Vaccination

Authorities in northwestern Pakistan have arrested hundreds of parents they say refused to allow their children to receive polio vaccinations.

Officials told Radio Mashaal on March 3 that 471 people had been detained.

Most of them are expected to be freed after pledging in writing to let their children receive anti-polio drops.

The move was part of a three-day antipolio campaign in 12 districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Some Pakistanis oppose vaccinations because of rumors they are part of a Western plot to sterilize children.

Militants frequently target medical workers involved in dispensing polio vaccinations, contributing to an increase in polio cases in Pakistan and making the country one of only three in the world where the disease remains endemic.

In 2014, 306 polio cases were reported in Pakistan, most of them in the country's northwest. Nine new cases have been detected so far this year.

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    RFE/RL's Radio Mashaal

    Radio Mashaal was launched in January 2010 in order to counter a growing number of Islamic extremist radio stations in Pakistan's Northwest Frontier Province (now Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province) and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas along the border with Afghanistan.