UN peacekeeping experience helps award-winning Pakistani officer serve in militant strongholds

Superintendent of Police (SP) Sajjad Khan is seen at his office in Swabi on March 30, 2019. (Photo courtesy: Sajjad Khan)
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Updated 19 October 2020

UN peacekeeping experience helps award-winning Pakistani officer serve in militant strongholds

  • Recognized as the Best Police Officer of Asia in 2012, Superintendent of Police (SP) Sajjad Khan served under the UN mission in Kosovo
  • In 2009, the Peshawar-based officer became the legal liaison officer with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia

ISLAMABAD: A Pakistani police officer who received multiple awards from the United Nations in recognition of his peacekeeping service in former Yugoslavia says his international experience has helped him when he returned to Pakistan to serve in northwestern regions that had long been affected by militancy.
Recognized by the UN as the Best Police Officer of Asia in 2012, Superintendent of Police (SP) Sajjad Khan served under the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK). The special mission was established in 1999, when the UN decided to deploy in Kosovo an international civil and security presence to end an armed conflict in the region in the wake of the deadly 1991-2001 war in the Balkans that led to the breakup of Yugoslavia.

Khan's service in the Balkans began in 2003. He returned to Pakistan in 2012, when international supervision ended and Kosovo became responsible for its own governance.

"I have learned a lot during my three tenures in UN as along with field duties, I have also attended many professional courses which has helped me in improving my own and team performance after coming back," said the officer who upon his return was deployed to the rural areas of Swabi and Peshawar districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, which had seen major terrorist activities in the past decade.

Currently in service as SP rural Peshawar, he recalls how during his first tour of duty he went to train police personnel in Prizren, southern Kosovo, who soon managed to reach European standards.

“When I went there in 2003, we used to train their police force ... I was awarded a medal by the United Nations (UN) for my excellent service there," Khan told Arab News. "When I went there in 2007, I have found a lot progress in their system which was following European model and it was far ahead of us."




Sajjad Khan is receiving an award in recognition of his contribution to the UN peacekeeping police mission in Pristina, Kosovo on Nov. 20, 2010. (Photo courtesy: Sajjad Khan)
 

In 2007, he served as an internal investigator in Pristina, the country's capital, and in 2009 became the legal liaison officer with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), which investigated crimes committed during the armed conflict in Kosovo.

As international investigations into the wider Yugoslav conflict were ongoing at that time, during trials at the International Court of Justice war criminals from the region were sometimes granted provisional or emergency release. Khan was responsible for their return to the Hague.

“My unit was responsible for their security and return to the Hague. Our unit also discovered mass graves which also helped the International Court of Justice in genocide cases," he said.

During his 2009-2012 mission, Khan was the only police officer from South Asia serving with the ICTY.

This final peacekeeping mission, he said, was also what brought him the highest accolade.

“I was awarded medal of the Best Police Officer by the UN for my services in ICTY at the end my mission in 2012."a


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.”