OIC rights body urges UN to pressure India against Kashmir residency law

This file photo shows the national flags of the members of Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) states flying in front of the clock of the Abraj al-Bait Towers in Makkah on Nov. 17, 2019. (AFP)
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Updated 20 May 2020

OIC rights body urges UN to pressure India against Kashmir residency law

  • Says India is illegally altering the demographic composition of Muslim majority in Kashmir
  • Pakistan says India is using world community’s preoccupation with COVID-19 pandemic to advance its designs

ISLAMABAD: The Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s (OIC) human rights body has once again strongly condemned and rejected the Indian government’s recently introduced residency law for the disputed part of Kashmir under its administrative control, and urged the UN to play its role in this regard.

In a statement issued late Tuesday, the Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC) of the OIC said the India was “mischievously” using the time when the world strives to fight the global pandemic, to “illegally alter the demographic composition of Muslim majority in Kashmir.”

The rights body urged the UN to mount pressure on India and play its role in stopping the move which was bound to alter the geographic and demographic status of Jammu and Kashmir.

“The Commission urges the UN and the international community to play their due role to pressurize India to: a) abide by the relevant UN Security Council and OIC resolutions to refrain from any administrative and legislative actions, which tantamount to altering the geographic and demographic status of the IoJ&K [Indian occupied Jammu & Kashmir]; b) restore all fundamental freedoms of Kashmiris; repeal its discriminatory laws; and c) allow people of Kashmir to exercise their inalienable right to self-determination through a free and fair plebiscite as provided in the relevant UN and OIC resolutions,” the statement read.
The move will further complicate the dispute which has already claimed the lives of thousands of Kashmiri Muslims, the Commission added.

India’s newly approved “Jammu and Kashmir Grant of Domicile Certificate (Procedure) Rules, 2020” spells out new domicile rules causing “demographic flooding of non-natives” in the Indian administered Kashmir, the OIC body noted.

In the controversial law that was notified on Monday, New Delhi prescribed the procedure for issuance of domicile certificate which is obligatory for seeking jobs in the region.

The commission said that the Indian government’s actions were designed at “systematically paving the way for ‘settlement colonialism’ through forced demographic change, institutionalizing a system of domination over indigenous Muslim population by converting them into minority within their homeland and obviating the exercise of their right to self-determination.”

Meanwhile Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry on Tuesday dubbed India’s new Kashmir residency law as “illegal,” saying this was “Indian government’s attempt to further deprive the people of Kashmir. 

In an official handout, the ministry said: “The New domicile law is illegal and in clear violation of the relevant United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolutions, international law including the 4th Geneva Convention and bilateral Agreements between Pakistan and India.”

Pakistan further called the timing of the Indian action “reprehensible” as it uses the world community’s preoccupation with the COVID-19 pandemic and “reflects the opportunistic and morally bankrupt mindset” of India’s Hindu nationalist government.


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.”