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Another 18 cases test positive at Pindi hospitals in two weeks

Dengue fever

55 cases so far reported this year

Rawalpindi: As many as 18 patients have been tested positive for dengue fever at the three allied hospitals in town in last two weeks taking the total number of confirmed patients so far registered this year at the allied hospitals to 55 however, the trend at the time cannot be declared as an outbreak of the infection.

Data collected by ‘The News’ on Monday has revealed that in last 24 hours, the three teaching hospitals did not receive any confirmed patient of the infection however as many as 11 confirmed patients of dengue fever including six patients of dengue hemorrhagic fever have been undergoing treatment in isolation wards of the allied hospitals.

To date, Holy Family Hospital received a total of 34 confirmed patients of dengue fever while as many as nine patients of the infection were undergoing treatment at the hospital on Monday morning of which five have been declared patients of dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF). The DHF is considered as a rare complication of the infection which is more fatal than dengue fever.

A total of 15 patients have been tested positive for dengue fever at Benazir Bhutto Hospital this year of which one was undergoing treatment in isolation on Monday. The BBH has also received three patients of DHF so far.

District Headquarters Hospital, this year, has received a total of six confirmed patients of dengue fever of which one suffering from DHF was undergoing treatment at the hospital on Monday.

The cases so far registered at the allied hospitals have been considered as sporadic ones by a number of health experts mainly because the allied hospitals received 55 cases of the infection in last four months. However, the peak season for transmission of dengue fever is about to set in.

Last year, in 2015, a total of 59 confirmed cases of dengue fever were reported in town till August 30 and afterwards, the population in twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi faced the most severe outbreak of the infection in the history of the region.

Many health experts believe that the peak season for dengue fever transmission in this region of the country starts in the beginning or middle of September and lasts till November.According to health experts, the more alarming factor this year is that out of 55 patients so far reported at the allied hospitals, as many as 12 were found with hemorrhagic manifestations.

Experts say that uncontrolled bleeding distinguishes DHF from uncomplicated dengue fever. Bleeding can occur from the gums, nose, intestine, or under the skin as bruises or spots of blood especially under a tourniquet. The liver is often enlarged. Patients can have rapid onset of marked drowsiness, lethargy or restlessness or the presence of shock as manifested by a rapid and weak pulse, low blood pressure and cold clammy skin. Such patients should be immediately referred to a good hospital for further management. DHF shock can be a mortal illness and requires rapid and careful in-hospital management with assiduous correction and replacement of fluid, electrolytes, plasma and sometimes, fresh blood/platelets transfusions. Mortality from DHF ranges from 5 — 30 per cent (in untreated native populations) and the highest risk is to infants under one year.


SHC issues notices in Amjad Sabri?s murder case

KARACHI: The Sindh High Court on Monday issued notices to advocate general Sindh, IG Sindh and others on a petition against 'illegal detention' of a man involved in the Amjad Sabri murder case.

The family of Imran Mehmood Siddiqui had challenged the detention of Imran by the personnel of law enforcement agencies. They submitted that Imran was taken into custody by personnel of law enforcement agencies and as per media reports, he was shown arrested in the Amjad Sabri murder case.

However, they said that neither the police were producing him in court nor his whereabouts were being disclosed. They sought production of the detainee and requested the court to provide details of cases, if any, against them. The court, issuing notice to the AG and others, called their comments.

The court also granted applications of accused involved in the Safoora bus killing case for urgent hearing. Petitioners submitted that Sajid Peena, Hussain Umer and Sultan Siddiqui were acquitted by the military court in the Safoora bus killing case but despite their acquittal they were not being shifted to the Karachi prison. They requested the court to direct the authorities concerned to order their shifting from the military prison to the Karachi Central Prison so that they could be dealt with in accordance with the law.



US reaffirms its support for India?s NSG membership

WASHINGTON: The United State's has reaffirmed its support for India's membership in the Nuclear Suppliers Group during Indian defence minister's visit to Pentagon here on Monday.    India's Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar met with the US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter and discussed the "wealth of progress in bilateral cooperation and the deepening strategic partnership" between the two countries.   

A joint statement after the meeting claimed that the defence relationship between India and the United States is based on the two countries' shared values and interests, and their abiding commitment to global peace and security. This was the sixth interaction between the defence leaders since Prime Minster Modi took over. 

"The visit demonstrates the importance both sides place on strengthening defence ties across many areas: from increased strategic and regional cooperation, to deepened military-to-military exchanges, to expanded collaboration on defence technology and innovation," the statement said.

Both leaders also discussed India’s “Major Defence Partner” designation, which was announced during Prime Minister Modi’s visit to Washington in June. They agreed on the importance this framework will provide to facilitate innovative and advanced opportunities in defence technology and trade cooperation.  "To this end, the United States has agreed to elevate defence trade and technology sharing with India to a level commensurate with its closest allies and partners," the statement declared. 

 According to the release sent by the Pentagon, Secretary Carter and Minister Parrikar welcomed the decision at the Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI) meeting in Delhi in July to set up five new joint working groups on: naval systems; air systems, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; chemical and biological protection; and other systems. "They also noted the signing of an information exchange annex under the framework of the Aircraft Carrier Joint Working Group. Secretary Carter and Minister Parrikar also agreed to continue  their close consultation on “Make in India” proposals," it said.



How much effective envoys mission on Kashmir will be?

Experts give divergent views

ISLAMABAD: With government’s announcement of 20 parliamentarians to be sent to world capitals as special envoys to highlight Kashmir issue, and more mainstream opposition MPs -- 4-5 from PPP folds, and 2 from PTI -- to be included in the effort, a debate is raging in Pakistan media how effective the whole move could be in the modern day targeted, specialised diplomacy in the prevalent international environment.

The News exclusively talked to Defense Minister and senior PML-N leader, Khawaja Muhammad Asif, PML-N ally and President PML-Z, MP Ejaz ul Haq, Former PPP minister and ex-ambassador to United States, Senator Sherry Rehman, former Pak ambassador to US Husain Haqqani, PTI legislator and policy maker, MNA Asad Umar, Defense and Foreign Policy analysts, Maria Sultan and Brigadier (R) Ghazanfar Ali Shah, and PML-N leader and analyst Jan Mohammad Achakzai about the whole debate and their points of view on the issue.

The main points to ponder revolved around whether many of these Pakistani parliamentarians are equipped with minimum required tools of modern day diplomacy, public dealing, and media handling? Or it will prove just another pleasure trip for some of these legislators who have a dismal record of raising issues of public and national interests in their own parliament? What are the sensitivities and stakes involved in the whole issue? Is this being done for point scoring across Pakistan, and opinion in the world capitals will hardly change as being feared by some quarters?. Do we enjoy enough economic muscle, diplomatic tactics and clout in world capitals to take on India on Kashmir? Already the Kashmir Committee of the Parliament headed by JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman is facing criticism for inaction and lethargic approach in highlighting Kashmir cause.

But officials say a plan has been finalised to brief these special envoys through top foreign office officials, provide them with literature and videos for their own knowledge and for distribution to world parliamentarians, human rights organisations etc. And they (envoys) will undertake these visits after days of preparation, threadbare discussions with officials, diplomats. 

With Pakistani public, and Kashmiris on both sides of the divide, closely monitoring the whole move, and India waiting in the flank to launch its counter move, there is an urge across the Pakistan society that these special envoys be prepared and briefed well as the whole exercise involves national honour, and millions from the public exchequer. 

Talking to The News, Khawaja Asif said dispatch of parliamentarians as special envoys amply demonstrates government’s concern on sensitizing the international community on Kashmir issue. “These parliamentarians will meet MPs, government officials, and try to interact with media”. “They will be properly briefed by the Foreign Office and respective diplomats as well as government officials”. 

They would be, he added, accompanied by our own diplomats in respective countries so that they can effectively deliver our message, explain country’s concern and position on the Kashmir issue as millions of Kashmiris are suffering atrocities at the hands of Indian security forces, and gross human rights violations are taking place.” 

“Even some of our close friends don’t know about the current state of affairs in Kashmir,” he maintained.  Asif brushed aside criticism from some opposition figures who opine that these parliamentarians won’t have any impact, arguing “people’s representatives have their own weight and stature”.

PML-Z chief and MP Ejazul Haq, who will be heading to Brussles as special envoy, said the government has centralised the Kashmir issue, and with parliamentarians reaching important world capitals, international and human rights organisations, the whole efforts will pay dividends. He said representative delegations of government, allies and opposition members would send a good signal that everyone was on one page regarding the Kashmir issue and one voice would be heard internationally. 

“India has already started to feel heat of the situation and is criticising the effort”. Ejaz said they are also in touch with All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) to get their input on this matter. 

Senator Sherry Rehman opined: “It will amount to pointless junketing (through such special envoys) because this is indeed the age of specialised diplomacy. “Kashmir needs much more targeted and smart diplomacy than the old patronage routines they are trying on again,” she added.

Asad Umar said: “The issue revolves around clarity of the government policy, and its commitment to pursue it, not shortage of people carrying the message.”

Husain Haqqani opined: “The international environment is not conducive to persuasion over Kashmir right now. Until Pakistan can demonstrate its complete disassociation with Jihadi terrorist groups, delegations like these will be nothing more than junkets. 

“Last year, when PM Nawaz Sharif raised Kashmir at the UN, it was big news in the Pakistani media, but, no other country even mentioned Kashmir and PM Sharif's speech was not even reported in the international media”. 

Haqqani, an ally turned rebel of the Pakistani establishment, said: “These delegations will also only play to public opinion in Pakistan. Although multi-party delegations, including opposition, are always better, I doubt that inclusion of opposition leaders in delegations will change the low level of global interest in Kashmir.

“It is a harsh reality, but one, we have to face. Pakistan must disassociate with Jihadi terrorism completely, improve its economy and standing in the world, and then perhaps, it could be heard more abroad. Making statements about Kashmir in New York, London or Paris only to score points in Rawalpindi, Lahore and Gujranwala is not an effective way to highlight the Kashmir issue,” Haqqani maintained.

Defense and Foreign policy analyst Maria Sultan said: “Palestinian state has been recognised in the United Nations as a result of such concentrated efforts, but all this cannot be done if the Pakistani Kashmiris don't take the lead and support the initiative. 

“This should be a synchronised effort by the state and the government, not just feel good visits.” The work of these envoys, Maria pointed out, must be seen in the backdrop of the attention they can bring and the support that can muster. “These people would also have to show commitment to the issue and internationally represent a united front for the cause of Kashmir, the atrocities being committed there, and a desire to engage with various groups to bring attention to the Kashmir problem.

“It is good decision provided the envoys work on the issue and come up with specific aspects they will highlight,” she said.  

Brigadier (R) Ghanzafar Ali Shah said: “This decision had been taken basically because of wrong selection or casual and unconcerned attitude of the PML-N as they appointed Mulana Fazlur Rehman as Kashmir committee chairman who is undesirable person in western capitals. 

“Pakistan has not made any efforts to highlight human rights violations in Kashmir through diplomatic channels, or through some lobby in print media, or in interaction with western government, so it’s a failure of the incumbent government.

“Moreover Pak government through its cover officers in embassies has not been able to mobilise Pakistani Kashmiris living abroad to get their protest recorded at the UN and different world capitals.”

Now sending some delegations, Shah added, to project the issue in cooperation with different forums is not a wrong choice, but it must include opposition members, and members from Kashmir assembly who have contacts with Pakistan community or think tanks over there.

Jan Muhammad Achakzai, PML-N leader and analyst, said: “This is the best move from the prime minister. These envoys will look into the eyes of their counterparts and other policy makers across the world capitals, and ask how many more deaths they need in Kahsmir to speak about the issue.”

Envoys will, he added, have straight communication in selling the idea that India is not a credible interlocutor to resolve issue of Kashmir. “Terse diplomacy needs political narrative by politicians so these envoys will couch Pakistan's national thinking and narrative in the best possible plain language,” he opined. 

Achakzai said sometimes diplomats cannot reach to places where special envoys could get to. “The delegations will be drawn from across political spectrum, and the world also will know it is a bi-partisan issue for the people of Pakistan to be alarmed about. “So it is a smart move by the PML-N government to systematically campaign on Kashmir situation,” Achakzai felt.


MQM leaders warn of quitting if Altaf stays in party

ISLAMABAD: A group of senior MQM leaders had threatened to resign en bloc and leave the party immediately if in the post-Aug 22 situation there was no complete disconnect between Altaf Husain and Muttahida Pakistan.

Informed sources said that these MQM leaders in their internal party discussion had told Farooq Sattar that after Altaf Hussain’s anti-Pakistan utterances, there is no possibility for them to continue with the MQM as Altaf Hussain their leader. During these discussions, extremely harsh words were used against Altaf Hussain.

The information regarding en bloc resignation threat has not only been confirmed to this correspondent by a MQM source but has also been fed by some intelligence agencies to the government. 

However, there is no concrete evidence available to conclude if at any level there is still any understanding between MQM Pakistan and MQM London or to say that the announced “disconnect” is permanent and Altaf Hussain has been really thrown out of the party he founded.

Regarding Farooq Sattar actions and if he could be trusted, an MQM senior leader who was among those ready for en bloc resignation told The News that Sattar does not appear to be faking. “He sounds genuine and wants to save MQM and not Altaf Hussain,” the source said, adding that Sattar is doing everything that formalizes and concludes the stated “disconnect” between MQM Pakistan and MQM London.

It is argued that initially the Farooq Sattar-led MQM Pakistan was cautious to announce “total disconnect” with London fearing possible reaction from Muttahida workers. However, to their good luck there has been no voice of protest raised against MQM Pakistan or in favour of Altaf Hussain.

In the situation where there has been no word of sympathy or support for Altaf Hussain, Farooq Sattar and other MQM leaders feel encouraged to be categorical in breaking their relations with London and Altaf Hussain.


BJP may go to war with Pakistan: Mayawati

LAHORE: Slamming the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati alleged that in a bid to divert attention from the government's failure, the party may trigger a war with Pakistan, reports a cross section of the Indian media.  The BSP supremo urged her supporters not to trust the BJP and warned that the party might trigger communal riots ahead of the 2017 UP Assembly elections. Talking about the Samajwadi Party (SP), she said that people of Azamgarh were fooled into voting for Mulayam Singh Yadav on the promise that he will develop the district like his native place. Mayawati also stressed that the BSP wasn't anti-upper caste but her part truly believed in empowering all sections of the society.



Rangers have set up a laundry: Aitzaz

ISLAMABAD: Opposition Leader in the Senate Aitzaz Ahsan Monday said the Rangers are trespassing from their mandate in Sindh and their operation in Karachi will ultimately benefit the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) chief Altaf Hussain and his militant wing.

Talking to media persons at his chamber at the Parliament House on Monday, Aitzaz said the impression of dry-clean laundry has become stronger after the arrest and release of Dr Farooq Sattar and Asif Husnain. “Had Dr Farooq Sattar announced the MQM’s disassociation from Altaf Hussain before his arrest then it would have been better for the MQM,” he said.

He said overall impression is that Rangers have put in place a laundry. He said the MQM still not minus Altaf Hussain. “Action should be taken against illegal offices of the MQM but not against those which are legally established,” he said.

Aitzaz said the Pakistan government will have to contact the British government if it wants any action against Altaf.  On PanamaLeaks, Aitzaz said the issue will not be put into back burner due to ongoing issue of Altaf Hussain’s speech as new turn is about to come with regard to the issue of offshore assets. He said deal documents of one Hide Park property of Hussain Nawaz of 42.50 million pounds have been obtained which is more expensive than Mayfair property.


SHC issues notices to AG, others on Amir Liaquat?s petition

KARACHI: The Sindh High Court on Monday issued notices to advocate general Sindh and others on the petition of Amir Liqauat Hussain requesting the court to direct the police not to register any fresh cases against him without the permission of the court.

Amir Liaquat Hussain submitted in the petition that he was falsely implicated in the cases registered at the Super Highway, Steel Town and Quaidabad police stations after the Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s leader Altaf Hussain's anti-Pakistan speech on August 22.

The petitioner's counsel, Khawaja Naveed Ahmed, submitted that the petitioner was not present at the time of address of the MQM leader and he had also denounced the statement of the MQM leader and left the party.

He submitted the petitioner apprehend that he would be arrested in false FIRs and victimised. He requested the court to direct the police not to register any fresh case against the petitioner without the permission of the court and restrain the police from arresting him in such cases. He also sought an exemption from personal appearance at trial court during the pendency of the petition.

The court issued notices to the advocate general Sindh and others and called their comments directing the respondents to act strictly in accordance with the law.


Govt departments in Punjab directed to revisit plan to check dengue

LAHORE: Adviser to Chief Minister Punjab on Health, Khawaja Salman Rafique has directed that all government departments should maintain present tempo of their activities to check dengue virus. He said next two months are very important regarding dengue; therefore, all the government departments have to discharge their duties with dedication and professionalism. Salman Rafique directed to revisit the micro-plan of Rawalpindi for dengue control.

He was presiding over a meeting of Cabinet Committee on Dengue at Civil Secretariat, according to a handout issued here on Monday. Besides Additional Chief Secretary Punjab Shamail Ahmad Khawaja, Kiran Dar MNA, Majid Zahoor MPA, Secretary Primary & Secondary Health Ali Jan Khan, Livestock Department Nasim Sadiq, DG Health Punjab Dr Mukhtar Hussain Syed, senior officers of all the departments concerned, divisional commissioners and DCOs attended the meeting.

Additional Director General Dengue Control Dr Fayyaz Butt apprised the meeting of the dengue situation in the province. Divisional Commissioners and DCOs of Rawalpindi, Gujranwala, Faisalabad and Multan briefed the meeting regarding the indoor and outdoor dengue surveillance. Lahore DCO Capt (R) Muhammad Usman informed that due to heavy rains in Lahore, dengue surveillance activities had been increased and additional 500 officials had been deployed for this purpose. Sheikhupura, Kasur and Nankana Sahib DCOs also apprised of dengue surveillance activities in their districts. The meeting was informed that due to continuous rains in the different cities, the dengue larva reporting had been increased in the outdoor as well as indoor.

Additional Chief Secretary Shamail Ahmad Khawaja directed that district administration of Rawalpindi and Health Department should work in close coordination with the administration of federal capital and CDA to check the dengue. He said that coordination at operation level with the administration of federal capital was essential for effective control on dengue. He stressed the need for special focus on socio-mobilisation. Chief Minister Research Cell Incharge, Prof Waseem Akram said that underground water tanks in the houses of Rawalpindi should also be examined for dengue larva.

The officers of Punjab Information Technology Board presented data regarding the activities of various departments to control dengue virus. Salman Rafique directed that Auqaf Department, Local Government and Social Welfare Department should enhance their dengue surveillance activities. He directed district administration of all the sensitive districts for strict monitoring of dengue surveillance teams.

The meeting reviewed Congo situation in Punjab. Director CDC Dr Muhammad Asim informed that training had been imparted to doctors and focal persons of the hospitals of Lahore, Multan, Faisalabad, Rawalpindi and Bahawalpur by the experts of WHO. Secretary Livestock Naseem Sadiq informed that Livestock Department had taken effective measures for vaccination of sacrificial animals. He said messages regarding the precautionary measures and elimination of ticks had been sent to 5.8 million registered animals and so far 2,191,650 animals had been sprayed and vaccinated against Congo. Secretary Livestock informed that 35 species of ticks found on animals out of them only one is the carrier of Congo virus. He informed that in Punjab, Chakwal and Attock districts were commonly known for Congo ticks. However, Turkey, Afghanistan, Iran and India are overwhelmingly affected by the Congo virus.

Secretary Primary & Secondary Health stressed the need to adopt all precautionary measures in the hospital. He said that doctors and nurses should wear personal protective gears while providing treatment to Congo patients. He stressed the need for making a comprehensive plan to check the diseases spreading through pet animals. Additional Chief Secretary Shamail Ahmad Khawaja said that all the government departments and district governments were working very hard; however, the message should be conveyed up to the grass root level.


NA committee endorses AIOU?s educational initiatives

Islamabad: National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Education and Professional Development has appreciated and endorsed the ongoing and future initiatives of Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) for facilitating its students in their educational pursuits.

The committee at its meeting held here on Monday at the University’s main campus lauded the AIOU’s steps taken during the last two years for upgrading the educational facilities, particularly for those living in the country’s far-flung regions.

The meeting, presided over by the committee’s chairman Colonel Dr. Amirullah Marwat was also attended by the Minister of State for Education Muhammad Baligur Rehman and Chairman Higher Education Commission Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed. It appreciated the comprehensive briefing on the University’s performance, working and achievements, given by the Vice Chancellor Professor Dr. Shahid Siddiqui.

While ensuring their full support to the University in implementing its future development plan, particularly setting up its own education TV channel and bringing Deeni Madrsas’ students in the mainstream, the committee’s members made various suggestions for the improvement of teaching, monitoring and examination system.

They emphasized that there should be zero tolerance for preparation of fake assignments by the students. It called for laying greater emphasis on quality education and strengthening of regional officials. They suggested holding of regular tutorial meetings and consolidating students-teachers links.

The committee’s chairman in its concluding remarks said, they are pleased and satisfied with the AIOU’s performance and achievements in educational sector. He hoped it would keep up its efforts further improving its overall educational system and learning management.

Minister of Education noted that the AIOU was moving to right direction in enhancing its soft image and overcoming its certain weaknesses. The University’s research-oriented and community-based academic programs are highly commendable. He also underlined the importance of massive online open courses, and noted that the University has already taken initiatives to this effect.  

The NA Committee also lauded the Vice Chancellor’s special initiatives regarding provision of free education to the prisoners, setting up accessibility centre for the visually impaired students and launching of community-based services. It recommended that the available facilities for the special students should be expanded.   It expressed satisfaction over the University’s financial management system and hoped it will maintain its sound budgetary position.

Chairman of the committee said he himself had been student of the AIOU and now he observed that it had made a lot of progress over the years in strengthening its overall network.

Dr. Shahid Siddiqui briefed the committee about the dynamics and main components of distance learning system and said, it met the challenges of the time improving literacy rate and taking the education to the door-steps of the people.   It was their pride that most their students belonged to less-developed regions and marginalized section of the society. He assured the committee’s members that they will make greater efforts for improving the existing educational facilities in light of their suggestions and recommendations.



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