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Nawaz Sharif, Imran Khan congratulate Pakistani Hindus on Diwali

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Karachi: Pakistan’s PM Nawaz Sharif became the first head of the government to attend a Diwali function, organised by Hindus in Karachi on Wednesday.

Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan speaking on Thursday at a public gathering organised by the party to celebrate Diwali in Umerkot, pledged to protect Pakistani Hindus in the country and said they will not be left alone like Muslims marginalised by Shiv Sena in India.

“Under a PTI government, a new Pakistan will emerge where police will not be used to harass anyone, justice will prevail and equal rights of provinces will be ensured,” Imran reportedly said.

Similar words were echoed by Nawaz Sharif, who called for all Muslims to accept Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, Parsis and other minorities living in the country as equals and pointed out that they had all participated in the building of Pakistan.

The prime minister also called on the Hindu community to invite him more to their festivals and urged all to take part and attend such occasions as it propagates unity. 

An editorial “Embracing diversity” in the News International suggested that the speech “goes far beyond a simple address on a holy occasion”.

“For one it acts to mainstream minority groups in the country and draw them into the social fabric of a divided nation.”

The editorial from News International went on to say that the next logical step from this point would be to ensure that those who commit crimes against minority groups are penalised under the law for their offences. “The fact that they have in the past too often escaped scot-free can only encourage such atrocities. In the name of religion, villages have been burnt, people beaten to death and women abducted.”

While welcoming his message, the daily observed that in Pakistan, “to succeed, PM Nawaz will need to go beyond attending functions or sharing in ceremonies”.

(IANS)

 

 

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Pakistani Doctors Blame Quacks for Alarming Rise in HIV Cases: Report

Pakistan was considered a country of low HIV prevalence for long, but the disease is expanding at an alarming rate with about 20,000 new HIV cases reported in 2017 alone, according to the UN

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Nearly 40 individual HPV types linked to HIV infection. Pixabay

The Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) has blamed quack doctors practicing without training and professional certification for an alarming rise in the number of HIV positive patients in the country, the media reported on Wednesday.

The doctors associated with the PMA said that the quacks, especially fake dentists, spread the virus by using instruments that were not sterilized, adding that despite free-of-cost availability of life-saving antiretroviral drugs at government hospitals, mortality ratio among patients carrying the virus was also increasing.

An alarming surge in HIV cases has been witnessed in five districts of Pakistan’s Punjab province, with 70 to 90 cases being reported monthly at the main government health facility in Faisalabad city, Dawn News reported.

Earlier this month, an international team of experts from the World Health Organization kicked off an investigation into the sudden HIV outbreak in Pakistan’s Sindh province after over 700 people were diagnosed with the virus in a matter of weeks, most of them were children.

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School girls light candles in the shape of a ribbon during a HIV/AIDS awareness campaign ahead of World Aids Day, in Ahmedabad, India, Nov. 30, 2016. (VOA)

Following the outbreak, authorities launched a crackdown on unqualified doctors as well as illegal blood banks and laboratories said to be involved in spreading the disease. At least 17 quack doctors were arrested and more than 70 clinics in Larkana district were shut down, according to Xinhua news agency.

According to the PMA, over 600,000 quacks are currently practicing in the country with more than 80,000 based in Punjab province alone.

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The association demanded the government to make all-out efforts to stop the menace of quackery in the country.

Pakistan was considered a country of low HIV prevalence for long, but the disease is expanding at an alarming rate with about 20,000 new HIV cases reported in 2017 alone, according to the UN. (IANS)