For many of us, the threat of contracting polio belongs in the past. We think of black and white photographs showing patients in wheelchairs or lying in an 'iron lung' to help them breathe. But for people in polio's last strongholds, the disease remains as real a threat today as it was 50 years ago.
The various levels of corruption, racketeering, protection bribes, sectarian threats and drone attacks have created a cocktail of intrigue and mistrust amongst the Pakistani citizens at best, and murderous behavior at worst! However, justifiable opposition to these problems cannot and should not ever be used to defend the murder of innocents.
The concept of development, through which governments view social policy in environments where capitalism is the mode of social organization, may be up for a major rethink, globally. This year, policy signals at agenda-setting global convening and major publications seem to be heralding new directions.
For at least 20 of the athletes who competed in the Games in London this year, it is polio which has left them paralysed - a vicious, highly infectious disease that attacks the nervous system and can cause paralysis, if not death. It is children under five who are most vulnerable to infection. But it was possible to watch London 2012's Paralympics Games with a great sense of optimism. These Games were historic, not only for the number of competing athletes and sell-out crowds, but also because they may well have been the last Olympics to take place in a world where a child is at risk of paralysis because of polio.
So long as a single child remains infected with polio, the global goal of eradication will not be met. We must also look inwards to put in place critically-needed health system reforms, which will be vital for meeting any development target in Pakistan where social divides are widening at an alarming pace.