Perth: Pakistan Premier Yousuf Raza Gilani today sought to blame an influx of Afghan refugees for persistence of polio in his country as Commonwealth leaderspledged to eradicate the crippling disease by announcing measures like a new 50-million-dollar funding. Gilani made the remarks on the sidelines of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) here, while addressing a joint press conference with British Premier David Cameron, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Australian leader Julia Gillard. Gillard announced a new funding of 50 million dollars over the next four years to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative. The funds would be used to help purchase vaccines,monitor outbreaks and respond when and where needed, she said. Cameron mentioned that polio remains an endemic in three Commonwealth countries -- India, Nigeria and Pakistan. He noted that India has not reported any fresh case of polio since January this year. In his remarks, Gilani said that Pakistan was committed to eradicating polio by the end of this year. He blamed the re-emergence of polio in Pakistan on the cross-border movement on its western frontiers and orthodoxy and fanaticism in the local tribes. "There is a lot of cross border movement from Afghanistanto Pakistan and we are in the middle of a war. Because of the situation even doctors cannot reach those areas where the terrain is also difficult," he said.
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