Pakistan establishes permanent mission to the OIC

Ambassador Rizwan Saeed Sheikh, Pakistan's newly-appointed Permanent Representative to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), is seen here in a meeting with the OIC's Secretary General Dr. Yousaf bin Ahmed Al-Othaimeen, in Jeddah on Monday. (Pic courtesy – Pakistan Consulate in Jeddah).
Updated 03 December 2019

Pakistan establishes permanent mission to the OIC

  • Earlier, the country's ambassadors to Riyadh represented Islamabad at the OIC
  • The OIC encouraged member states to set up permanent missions in Jeddah for a more efficient dealing

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s newly-appointed Permanent Representative to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Ambassador Rizwan Saeed Sheikh, met with the OIC’s Secretary General, Dr. Yousaf bin Ahmed Al-Othaimeen, at the group’s headquarters in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on Monday.
A statement released by Pakistan’s consulate in Jeddah said that Sheikh then presented his credentials to the OIC’s Secretary General.
“Presentation of credentials by Ambassador Sheikh marked the establishment of Pakistan’s dedicated Permanent Mission to the OIC and other international organizations. Earlier, ambassadors of Pakistan in Riyadh used to represent the country at the OIC,” it added.




Ambassador Rizwan Saeed Sheikh, Pakistan's newly-appointed Permanent Representative to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), is seen here in a meeting with the OIC's Secretary General Dr. Yousaf bin Ahmed Al-Othaimeen, in Jeddah on Monday. (Pic courtesy – Pakistan Consulate in Jeddah).

Pakistan’s decision to establish its permanent mission is an acknowledgement of the OIC’s various resolutions which encourages member states to set up their respective missions in Jeddah and handle their affairs in a more efficient manner.
The establishment of the new mission – which coincides with the golden jubilee celebrations of the OIC – is based on a system-wide approach, reflecting Pakistan’s intent “to strengthen its engagement with the Islamic body and other specialized and subsidiary institutions that are a part of the broader OIC system.”
“As a founding member, Pakistan attaches great importance to the OIC, which apart from lending an institutional expression to the pan-Islamic sentiments is the second largest intergovernmental organization after the UN,” the statement read.
The OIC, for its part, has always extended its consistent support to the Kashmir cause.
Additionally, Islamabad remains one of the largest beneficiaries of the financial assistance provided by the Islamic Development Bank group – a specialized branch of the OIC system.
The statement added that setting up of the permanent mission is also aimed at “enhancing Pakistan’s footprint in the organization and forging a mutually-beneficial, multifaceted relationship with the larger OIC system.”
It follows a two-day visit to Saudi Arabia by Firdous Ashiq Awan, Special Assistant to Prime Minister Imran Khan on Information and Broadcasting on November 25, where she attended the OIC’s golden jubilee celebrations in Jeddah.


Pakistani breast cancer detection startup hopes to get FDA approval by next year

Updated 20 October 2020

Pakistani breast cancer detection startup hopes to get FDA approval by next year

  • Xylexa Inc. has developed software that produces mammogram results within seconds, pushing diagnosis accuracy up to 90 percent
  • Pakistan has the highest rate of breast cancer in Asia with approximately 90,000 new cases diagnosed every year

ISLAMABAD: The CEO of a Pakistani startup that uses artificial intelligence and image processing to detect breast cancer said this week he was hopeful his software would break onto the global stage next year after getting approval from the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Xylexa Inc., a computer-aided diagnostics platform, has developed software that processes mammograms within seconds and produces results, pushing diagnosis accuracy up to 90 percent while also cutting costs and time.
Breast cancer is one of the leading causes of death worldwide, and Pakistan has the highest rate of the disease in Asia, with approximately 90,000 new cases diagnosed every year. Of those, 40,000 patients do not survive, according to data from the Journal of the Pakistan Medical Association, which says approximately one out of every nine Pakistani women are likely to suffer from breast cancer. Around 77 percent cases of invasive breast cancer occur in women above 50 years, though if diagnosed early, the survival rate is close to 90 percent.
“Breast cancer’s early diagnosis is the biggest challenge [and] when a radiologist reads a mammogram with a naked eye, the [chances of] misdiagnosis are over 30 percent,” Shahrukh Babar, Xylexa’s chief executive officer, told Arab News on Monday.
“We have developed an artificial intelligence-based decision support system which reads mammograms, processes them through innovative algorithms and exactly pinpoints where the anomaly is present and what type of anomaly it is, either it is benign or belligerent,” Babar said. “There is no subscription fee for our service as hospitals and individuals can pay per study. It is a cloud based application which can be accessed easily anywhere and anytime. Even patients will be able to upload their mammograms to get the diagnosis.”
The company began to develop the software in early 2017, and it is now being used on a trial basis in hospitals in The Netherlands and Germany. Xylexa hopes to release its application performance results by November and is developing partnerships with hospitals in Dubai, Europe and the US before it launches the software commercially next year after getting FDA certification, the CEO said.
“We are launching it in Pakistan by first quarter of next year, and will be launching it globally in 2021,” Babar said, adding that his company was closely working with an advisory board of oncologists and radiologists from North America and Canada to fine-tune the product.
Healthcare specialists say death by breast cancer can be prevented in one third of women if routine mammography was performed in women over 50 years of age.
“It is quite alarming that breast cancer is becoming common in younger age groups,” said Dr. Erum Khan, a surgeon and healthcare specialist at Polyclinic hospital in Islamabad. “The the only way to tackle it effectively is early and accurate detection.”