In celebration of the decades-long battle and ultimate victory over polio in India, the Rotarians of Karachi arranged a ceremony for the Rotary Flame which arrived with PDG Mohammed Fakhri Hassen from Rotary Club of Colombo, Sri Lanka; President S.N. Srikanth, PP N. K Gopinath and PDG Benjamin Cherian Ramachandran all from the Rotary Club of Madras, Chennai in India. The ceremony was held at the Inter-City Meeting in Pearl Continental Hotel, Karachi on 5th January 2015 at 7.30 pm.
“Fire is a benevolent element in Indian culture, and the Rotary Flame launched from Chennai, India is a manifestation of Rotary’s commitment to eradicate polio worldwide,” said Past President Gopinath.
The Flame will travel from Karachi to Interior Sindh (Hyderabad, Mirpurkhas, Nawabshah, Sukkur) then Rahim Yar Khan, Multan, Lahore and Islamabad in Punjab, and then to Peshawar, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa before it departs for Kabul, Afghanistan. This will cover all the major cities covering both Rotary Districts 3271 and 3272 across Pakistan.
The ceremony to launch the flame in Karachi was initiated by President Saifuddin Bandukwala – Rotary Club of Karachi (host club) welcomed the Rotary delegation from India and Sri Lanka. The Chief Guest of the Ceremony was Begum Shahnaz Wazir Ali, Coordinator, Oversight Committee Sindh. Participants included Dr. Salah Tumsah, TL WHO, Dr. Nargiz UNICEF Sindh, Dr Shaukat Ali UNICEF, Dr. Altaf Bosan, Technical Coordinator -Prime Minister’s Polio Cell, Dr. Ahmed Ali Shaikh – Focal Person Chief Minister’s Polio Cell. More than a 150 Rotarians from RI District 3271 in Karachi and Interior Sindh attended the ceremony.
National Chair, Pakistan PolioPlus Committee Aziz Memon facilitated the session. He highlighted the role of Rotarians and enlightened everyone on the back ground of the lightening of Rotary Flame. He appreciated the commitment of the delegation coming from India and Sri Lanka. PDG Benjamin Cherian Ramachandran of Rotary Club of Madras presented € 1000 toward the fund for families of slain polio workers.
Dr. Altaf Bosan – Technical Coordinator PM Monitoring Cell conveyed the Focal Person MNA Ayesha Raza Farooq’s message on her behalf, who could not attend the meeting due to her important engagements in Islamabad, Dr, Bosan said “the Rotary Flame is a symbol of hope that the countries where polio still exists are working toward a ‘polio free world’. He appreciated the role of Rotary in this initiative.
Begum Shahnaz Wazir Ali said that the ‘role of a Polio worker’ is the backbone of all polio campaigns. These workers are really doing an important and in some areas, it is dangerous as well. But their commitment is very high. She saluted those polio workers who lost their lives while performing their duties. She called three polio workers on stage and appreciated their efforts for the cause of polio eradication in Pakistan.
The Rotary Flame was lit by DG Shahbaz Qureshi. All Rotarians participated in the ceremony were unanimously committed to eradicate polio from Pakistan.