Opposition’s Maryam Nawaz arrives in Karachi ahead of second anti-government protest 

Leader of the newly-formed Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), an opposition alliance of 11 parties, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari (L) chairman of the Pakistan Peoples Party and son of former Prime Minister of Pakistan Benazir Bhutto and Maryam Nawaz Sharif (2R), a Pakistani politician and the daughter of former Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif, wave to supporters during the first public rally in the eastern city of Gujranwala on October 16, 2020. (AFP)
Short Url
Updated 18 October 2020

Opposition’s Maryam Nawaz arrives in Karachi ahead of second anti-government protest 

  • A countrywide campaign under the Pakistan Democratic Alliance banner was kicked off on Friday to oust central government
  • Three-layered security in place in Karachi, with rally attendees body searched and several roads blocked for safety

ISLAMABAD: Maryam Nawaz, the vice president of the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PMLN) opposition party, arrived in Karachi on Sunday ahead of a second protest rally organized by a recently formed opposition alliance to call for early elections in Pakistan.
A countrywide protest campaign under the Pakistan Democratic Alliance banner-- a nine party opposition alliance-- kicked off in Gujranwala on Friday. Sunday’s rally in Karachi, the capital of Sindh province, will be followed by another one in Quetta city later this month. 
Banners along the roads, painted in the flag colors of Sindh’s ruling Pakistan People’s Party, welcomed Nawaz’s convoy as it left the airport. 
Three-layered security has been set up at the rally, with several roads blocked for safety and a huge crowd gathered at the venue.
Hitting back at Prime Minister Imran Khan’s address at a convention on Saturday, Nawaz told reporters at the airport that Khan’s were the words of a ‘defeated and angry man.’
Khan had said it would now be his ‘utmost effort’ to bring Nawaz Sharif, the father of Maryam Nawaz and a three-time Pakistani prime minister, back to Pakistan from London to face ‘regular’ jail rather than the VIP prisons reserved for high-profile convicts in Pakistan.
“He can take these threats elsewhere,” Nawaz said. “If anybody is under the impression that we were kept in jails [in the past] with any amenities, they’re wrong. We were jailed in regular prisons.”
“And after months in jail, any fear we had of prisons is now gone,” she added. 
Nawaz Sharif was ousted from his second term as PM in a military coup in 2000. He was prime minister for a third term from 2013 to 2017, when he was removed by the Supreme Court amid corruption revelations over his personal wealth. He was subsequently convicted of graft but says the accusations are politically motivated.
On October 25 last year, Sharif was granted bail and got court clearance to leave the country for medical treatment in London, where he is now based. 
In 2019, Sharif’s daughter was also arrested by the anti-corruption bureau while attempting to visit her father at a jail in the city of Lahore. She is currently out on bail in several cases.
PM Khan’s PTI party swept to power in August 2018 after defeating all major opposition parties. The PDM opposition alliance says the party won a rigged election with the help of the military establishment, which Khan’s government and the army deny.


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

Updated 14 min 27 sec ago

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.”