Sindh announces to establish provincial food authority

ICMD, March 19, 2018 Sindh government on Sunday announced to establish a provincial food authority that will be responsible to keep a check on the eateries in order to ensure the quality of edibles they provide to the public. Talking to a local media outlet, Sindh Food Department Secretary Sajjad Hussain said the provincial government has granted Rs500 million for the establishment of the food authority. The authority is expected to induct 50 personnel in the first phase that will be tasked to raid various hotels, restaurants, bakeries and other eateries. The team will comprise officials of the health department, University of Karachi Food and Science Department’s professor and others. The authority will first select the target areas in February and will start its operations in March. Over the years, food authorities in Punjab and KP have carried out a number of raids at different shops, bakeries and hotels recovering huge quantities of substandard edibles. The authorities concerned have suspended the food licenses of many hotels that were found to be using poor quality products in their food. The notification, issued the chief secretary, said Amjad Ali Laghari, an officer of ex-PCS (BS-19), additional secretary of the food department, had been transferred and posted as director general of the Sindh Food Authority. PT

Clad In Thari Costume, Krishna Kumari Makes History

ICMD, March 12, 2018 Krishna Kumari, the newly elected Senate member on Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) ticket, Monday took oath wearing traditional Thari dress. Krishna’s parents accompanied her to the Senate. They were also clad in the same Thari costume. Kumari is the first Hindu woman elected on the women reserved seat for minorities from Sindh. Kolhi belongs to a remote village in Nagarparkar district of Thar in Sindh. She is from the family of the valiant freedom fighter Rooplo Kolhi, who had waged a war against the invading British colonialist forces when they had attacked Sindh from Nagarparkar side in 1857. Subsequently, he was arrested and hanged by the Britishers on August 22, 1858. She had joined the PPP as a social activist along with her brother, who was later elected chairman of Union Council Berano. Kolhi also actively participated and worked for the rights of downtrodden people of marginalised communities living in Thar and other areas. Different senators hailing from her party shared her photographs on social media as she took oath of the Senate membership. She got married at 16. Her husband supported her to continue her studies. At 38, she holds a master’s degree in sociology from Sindh University. Her election represents a major milestone for women and minority rights in Pakistan. Earlier, PPP had elected first Hindu woman named Ratna Bhagwandas Chawla as a senator.

PPP MPA Rubina Qaimkhani’s son dies in car crash

ICMD, March 2, 2018 Hamza Qaimkhani, the lone son of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) MPA Rubina Qaimkhani, lost his life in a road accident on Friday in Karachi. Initial investigations suggest that the accident occurred due to speeding. The accident took place when the teenager, who was 16 years old, was travelling in an SUV with his friend Afsaryab Khan. The vehicle overturned near the Village Restaurant on Sea View Road within the limits of the Sahil police station. As a result, both Hamza and his friend were critically injured. Following the accident, rescue workers from different welfare associations immediately reached the site and shifted the victims to South City Hospital in Clifton. Hamza’s injuries were very severe and he passed away. His friend is still admitted at the hospital and is in critical condition. An extra contingent of law enforcers reached the site to inquire about the incident. Police officials, while quoting the initial investigations, said that the accident occurred due to speeding. Sahil police station SHO Shoaibur Rehman said that deceased and injured both lived on Khayaban-e-Seher in Defence Housing Authority. “The boys were in the speeding vehicle when the driver lost control and the vehicle overturned,” said SHO Rehman. However, he said the case is still being investigated from different angles. Former provincial minister Rubina has been a member of the Sindh Assembly since June, 2013. Previously, she has served as a member of the National Assembly from 2002 to 2013.

Two women among three gunned down in Sukkur

ICMD, Feb 25, 2018 Three people including two women were killed after unidentified assailants broke into their house in Sukkur on Sunday. According to police, the incident took place in Gadani Phatak area of the Sindh town this morning. They said two armed men attacked the residence of Sadiq Gadani, who along with two women of the family, was gunned down on the spot. Police said the incident seemed a result of personal enmity over property dispute, adding that Gadani’s wife and a relative lady were among those killed during the attack. A case has been lodged and raids were being carried out to arrest the suspects. -- ET

Challenge on Karachi's Shahra-e-Faisal

ICMD, Feb 24, 2018 Sindh Home Minister Sohail Anwar Siyal on Saturday took notice of a video showing a young man firing on Karachi's Shahra-e-Faisal and using foul language against an unknown person. The video circulating on social media since Friday night shows a man, who identifies himself as Adnan Pasha, waving a gun and firing shots in the air on an empty road that he claims is the main Shahra-e-Faisal in Karachi. Amid expletives, Pasha challenges — it is unclear who — "to stop him if they can". Home minister Siyal, taking notice of media reports about the video, ordered the senior superintendent of police East to hold an enquiry into the matter and submit a detailed report "immediately". Sindh Inspector General of Police (IGP) A.D. Khowaja also ordered the deputy inspector general East to conduct an investigation and submit a detailed report of the incident.

Children OPDs to remain open till 8 pm

ICMD, Feb 22, 2018 Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah on Thursday directed the health department to work out a plan to start non-stop pediatric OPD in all the government hospital from 8 am to 8 pm. He issued this directive while chairing a meeting in which ChildLife Foundation, a government partner, gave him a presentation on child health in Sindh. The foundation told the chief minister that as many as 250 children under the age of five die every year. They added that around 21,000 children are brought in hospitals every day and 43 percent children belong to poor families, therefore they face different health issues. On this, the chief minister said that he is worried about the health of children whether they belong to poor or well of families. “It becomes the responsibility of the government to provide, free of cost and non-stop health services to everyone. The Foundation told the chief minister that by the end of April 2018, all the teaching government hospitals in Karachi would have full-fledged separate child health service facilities. Similar facilities are being developed in Larkana Shaikh Zaid Hospital, Jamshoro, Shaheed Benazirabad and in various other districts. The chief minister said that the OPD for children is operated in in government hospitals from 8 am to 2 pm and after that, the children have to go to emergency to be checked. “I want children OPD from 8 am to 8p and then ailing children could be taken to emergency,” he said. The chief minister also directed the health department to prepare a software for keeping date-wise, time-wise, name-wise record of OPD, emergency and admitted patients with the medicines and lab test facilities be provided to the patients. -- PT

A ‘Typhoid Fever’ in Hyderabad can’t go with antibiotics

ICMD, Feb 20, 2018 An outbreak of typhoid fever in Hyderabad is being caused by an extensively drug resistant “superbug” strain, a sign that treatment options for the bacterial disease are running out, scientists said on Tuesday. Researchers from Britain’s Wellcome Sanger Institute who analysed the genetics of the typhoid strain found it had mutated and acquired an extra piece of DNA to become resistant to multiple antibiotics. An outbreak of drug-resistant typhoid that began in Hyderabad in November 2016 is still spreading, according to experts from Aga Khan University who worked with the Sanger team. Official data on case numbers and deaths are not available, but local media reports say health authorities detected more than 800 cases of drug-resistant typhoid in Hyderabad alone in a 10-month period between 2016 and 2017. The researcher found the bacterial strain causing the outbreak is now resistant to five antibiotics in total, more than seen in any outbreak before. “This is the first time we have seen an outbreak of extensively drug-resistant typhoid,” said Elizabeth Klemm, who co-led the analysis work at the Sanger Institute. “This outbreak was caused by a multidrug-resistant strain that had gone a step further and acquired an extra piece of DNA encoding additional genes for antibiotic resistance.” Typhoid is a highly contagious infection caused by the Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi bacteria. It is contracted by consuming contaminated foods or drinks and symptoms include nausea, fever, abdominal pain and pink spots on the chest. Untreated, it can be fatal. Scientists at Aga Khan University anxious to find ways to tackle an ongoing outbreak there contacted the Sanger in the spring of 2017 and asked scientists there to genetically analyse samples. The team found it was being caused by a strain known as H58, which is already known to be linked to drug-resistant cases. Looking further, they found this H58 strain had gained an extra strand of bacterial DNA – a plasmid – that encoded for additional antibiotic resistance genes. The study’s results were published in the scientific journal mBio. Charlie Weller, head of vaccines at Britain’s Wellcome Trust global health charity, said the findings were a clear warning that “treatment options for typhoid are running out” and focusing on prevention was now vital. A new vaccine against typhoid was approved last month by the World Health Organisation and the GAVI global vaccine alliance said last year it had earmarked $85 million to help support the introduction of typhoid vaccines in poor countries. Previous research by Sanger scientists published in 2015 found that the H58 strain of typhoid first emerged in South Asia 25 to 30 years ago. It initially took hold in Asia and Africa before spreading around the world, becoming the dominant strain by 2015.

Karachi varsity missing student found dead

ICMD, Feb 18, 2018 A Karachi University’s student belonging to Bajaur Agency was found dead from Gulshan-e-Iqbal on Sunday. Police officials said that the deceased had gone missing on February 16 and later his body was found from Metrovill-III within the limits of Mobina Town Police Station. The body was shifted to Edhi morgue in Sohrab Goth after medico legal formalities at Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre. The deceased was identified as Ahmed Shah, 22, by his friend namely Ahsanullah. One of the victim’s friends told the media that the deceased was a master’s student at the KU’s Zoology Department. “We talked over the phone on Friday night at around 10:30pm and since then he was missing,” he said, adding: “We tried to find him here and there and finally found him at the morgue.” The deceased used to live in a rented house along with his at least five friends belonging to his hometown. The friends after finding him dead informed the family about the incident. The family reached Karachi and received the body to take it to the hometown for burial process. Police officials said that no mark of bullet was found on the victim’s body, however, severe wound was found in his head. “No doubt that he was murdered and it seems that the victim was hit by an iron rod,” said Mobina Town SHO Hashim Billo. The police official said that the motive behind the murder was yet to be ascertained, adding the police had summoned his friends to record their statements. He added that police were also looking for their phone calls records. He said that a case had been registered on the behalf of the victim’s brother against unidentified persons while further investigation was underway. -- DT

Sharjeel Memon, 11 others indicted in corruption references

ICMD, Feb 15, 2018 Former provincial minister Sharjeel Memon along with 11 others accused of embezzling almost Rs6 billion in Sindh’s Information Department have been indicted by an accountability court in Karachi on Thursday. Police presented Memon and 11 others before the court where the judge read out the individual crimes of all those present. All the suspects pleaded not guilty. The judge then indicted all 12 present. According to the National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) reference, investigation was conducted regarding corruption and corrupt practices in awarding advertisements to television and FM radio channels concerning awareness campaign carried out by Sindh Information Department. Between July 2013 and June 2015, an amount of Rs5.76 billion was paid to seven advertisement agencies. The reference says that Memon illegally approved the release of official advertisements to the electronic media through so-called, pre-qualified advertising agencies without completing the due process. The investigation reveals that the advertising agencies paid lower prices to TV channels and claimed much higher amounts, even though they were entitled to just 15 per cent agency commission against the total bill. -- ET