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Pakistan SC upholds military courts, rejects pleas

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Source: Google images
Source: Google images
Source: Google images

Islamabad: The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Wednesday rejected all applications challenging the 18th and 21st constitutional amendments, ruling in favour of the establishment of military courts in the country.

A 17-member bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Nasirul Mulk had reserved the verdict on the 35 identical applications against the two constitutional amendments on June 27, Geo TV reported.

The bench dismissed the petitions challenging the 21st amendment with 11 judges voting to reject the pleas and six in favour.

Besides, petitions challenging the 18th amendment were also rejected by a majority 14-3 vote.

The verdict was announced by Chief Justice Nasirul Mulk and Justice Dost Muhammad.

The ruling by the apex court on Wednesday puts the stamp of approval for military courts in Pakistan, which were formed under the 21st constitutional amendment and the Pakistan Army Act 1952 for speedy hearing of terrorism cases following the Taliban attack at the Army Public School in Peshawar on December 16, 2014.

The establishment of the military courts was challenged in the pleas against the 21st constitutional amendment by the Supreme Court Bar Association, the Lahore High Court Bar Association and other lawyers’ bodies, arguing that the military courts were an expression of no-confidence in the judiciary, a violation of basic human rights and against the basic structure of the constitution.

The apex court had halted the execution of six militants who were handed down the death sentence.

But Wednesday’s verdict upholding the establishment of the military courts paves way for the continuation of the hearing of terrorism cases in military courts and the execution of the six death row prisoners.

(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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HIV
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.

HIV
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)