Tag Archives: Islam

Pakistan plans to separate civil aviation regulatory operational units | Instant News


Islamabad: Pakistan plans to split the civil aviation authority (CAA) into two separate regulatory and operational entities to improve the overall performance of its sector of air transport, said a senior government official on Thursday.

The proposal was put forward in March 2019, but his discussion once again after the Minister of aviation, Ghulam Sarwar Khan, claimed last month that “nearly 40 percent ” of the pilots of the country was a fake license.

Soon after the scandal, aviation experts have confirmed that the government should bifurcate the operations of the CAA to strengthen regulatory control over pilots and flight operations.

“The special Committee of the Cabinet of Ministers discussed the issue of bifurcation of civil aviation,” Abdul Sattar Khokhar, chief Secretary, Department of civil aviation, told Arab News on Thursday. “Once this is done, it will go for approval to the Federal Cabinet of Ministers and Parliament”.

“It will also allow you to remove the conflict of interest, as currently, the same organization acts as the regulator and provider of services,” he added, refusing to name the date of completion of the plan.

“Everything is processed and nothing is final at this stage,” he said.

The government has formulated a state policy in the field of aviation in March 2019 to make the regulatory role of the CAA is completely independent of rendering services within two years.

In accordance with the plan, SAA will be divided into the Pakistan regulatory authority Pakistan civil aviation administrations and airports. The scheme is also aimed at outsourcing the various airports of the country in two phases to improve the quality of their service.

The Association of the Pakistan airline pilots’ (Palpa) has said that the government did not consult the body over the plan bifurcation, adding that its members had serious reservations about the functioning of the licensing branch of the CAA.

“The government must consider the anomalies in the licensing process, as the recent debate about so-called fake licence has damaged the reputation of Pakistan in the world”, – said the President of the Association, Chaudhry Salman, told Arab news.

He said that the government had banned flights 101 pilots for “questionable” professional credentials, and they were all prosecuted against this decision.

“The government should impose fines or allow re-testing instead of revocation of licenses of pilots,” said Salman.

Aviation industry experts say about the bifurcation of the CAA will not automatically optimize manufacturing operations, if the government cleaned up the whole institution of “the black sheep and the crooks.”

“This is a good initiative, but regulatory and airport authorities should be presented in two different departments to get desired results,” the Afsar Malik, aviation, business consultant, told Arab news, adding that one of the blocks may present an aviation division, and others could work under the Cabinet division.

Said Malik outsourcing airports could help the government improve its effectiveness and profit, but “the full business plan needs to be formulated in advance.”

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Pakistani Prime Minister calls on troops to help clean up rain-stricken Karachi | Instant News


ISLAMABAD: The European Union Air Safety Agency (EASA) has suspended authorization of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) to fly to the block for six months, the airline said on Tuesday, in a major blow to the country’s flag carrier.
Separately, the safety agency said it took action because of concerns about the country’s ability to ensure compliance with international aviation standards at all times.
The suspension follows runway 262 of Pakistan’s 860 state pilots – including 141 of 434 PIAs – whose licenses are called by the aviation minister “dubious.”
“EASA has temporarily suspended PIA authorization to operate in EU member states for an effective six-month period of July 1, 2020 with the right to appeal,” the PIA said in a statement. He added that he would suspend all flights to Europe.
Confirming the move in a statement sent by e-mail, EASA was referring to a recent investigation by Pakistan that said it indicated “most” of pilot licenses were invalid.
The Pakistani pilot landed after an initial report on a PIA accident in Karachi that killed 97 people last month.
The PIA said it was in contact with EASA to take corrective action and appeal the decision, adding that it expected the suspension to be revoked “as early as possible” after action by the government and the airline.
EASA also suspended the authorization of another Pakistani airline, Vision Air International.
Vision Air International does not immediately respond to requests for comment via email.
Following the EASA decision, the British Civil Aviation Authority said it also withdrew PIA permits to operate from three airports, as required by law.
“PIA flights from Birmingham, London Heathrow and Manchester airports were suspended immediately,” a spokesman for the British authority told Reuters.
All three are the main flight destinations for airlines.
Meanwhile, Pakistani pilots and their union, the Pakistan Airline Pilots Association (PALPA), said there were differences in the list of government pilots with licenses that were considered dubious and demanded a court investigation.
PIA and private airline Air Blue also questioned the list with PIA saying 36 of its pilots were said to have retired or left the airline, while Air Blue said it no longer employs seven of the nine pilots on the list.
“It contains the names of highly educated and quality pilots who have passed all the tests,” PALPA president Chaudhry Salman told Reuters. “We want a fair and impartial resolution to this issue.”
An official at the Pakistani aviation ministry, Abdul Sattar Khokhar, said they did not have full details about the differences. “This problem is being resolved through consultation with airlines and civil aviation authorities.”

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Pakistani businesses that rely on Hajj pilgrims face a bleak future | Instant News


KARACHI: Every year before the annual pilgrimage to Mecca, hundreds of Pakistanis visit the Shaikh Rafi shop on busy MA Jinnah Road in Karachi to buy prayer mats and ihram clothes, two pieces of cloth worn by Muslims during the hajj.

But not this year. Since last month’s announcement by Saudi authorities that the pilgrimage will be limited to several thousand pilgrims living in the Kingdom, to prevent the spread of coronaviruses, Rafi has spent days cleaning dust from unsold items as he anxiously waits for customers who never arrive . .

“This has been our routine for the past few months,” said Rafi, whose shop is in the Karachi Allahwala Market.

The plan for around 2.5 million Muslims around the world was canceled when this year’s pilgrimage was dramatically lowered. In Pakistan, nearly 180,000 people canceled their trips, and its influence on the country’s hajj industry 160 billion rupees ($ 1 billion) was devastating. Rafi’s shop is only one of at least 5,000 small businesses in Karachi that have been severely affected.

“Because of the Kingdom’s decision to postpone Umrah flights and limit hajj, almost all related businesses experienced a decline in sales,” he said. “We opened our shop hoping someone would come but that day ended without customers.

Wholesaler Muhammad Rizwan said: “Under normal circumstances, ordinary people buy prayer mats and hats, before or after performing the hajj or umrah, as gifts for their relatives and friends – but since they have been locked, the industry has been completely shut down.”

Traders said it was not only the lack of sales that caused the problem, but also delayed payments.

“There has been no business for about the past five months and our payments from retailers and shop owners who have bought on credit have been put on hold,” said Muhammad Hanif Katlia, a wholesale supplier of ihram clothing. “Many shopkeepers have failed to pay (because of their bills) and have not paid rent, and many have fled without paying what is due.”

Some factories that produce goods for the Hajj and Umrah industries have been forced to close down completely, work costs, while others have switched to producing other goods.

“Production has been stopped for the past five months and we have laid off workers,” said Jannat Gul, whose business produces ihram clothing and other hajj-related products. “There is no buying and selling, and borrowers have not paid back what they owe since Umrah was suspended because of a coronavirus.”

This year is the first time in the modern era that pilgrims from other countries are not permitted to enter Mecca. According to Pakistan’s Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony, which oversees the country’s hajj arrangements, 179,210 Pakistanis have registered to attend this year: 71,684 with private tour operators and 107,526 through cheaper packages, supported by the government.

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The iconic Sea View area in Karachi to get a facelift | Instant News


KARACHI: Inspired by a project in Jeddah, a city agent in Karachi, Pakistan’s seaside metropolitan city in the Arabian Sea, plans to turn the coastal environment into a recreational area, open and free to the public, officials told Arab News.

In April last year, a member of the Clifton Cantonment Council (CBC) visited the Jeddah Waterfront resort project, part of the Jeddah Corniche, a 30-kilometer coastal resort area along the Red Sea. They held consultations with Saudi city authorities to transform the Sea View area along 2.83 kilometers of Karachi into a more friendly space, where visitors can enjoy modern facilities.

“There will be no walls. This will be a truly open space, accessible to all, “CBC spokeswoman Amir Ali told Arab News, adding that entry will be free.

“The beach that we have currently doesn’t offer much to visitors who come here from all over Pakistan or abroad. CBC authorities realized that we had to have the best beach, complete with all the necessary facilities. ”

He added: “This is a non-commercial project built with limited resources, but will offer maximum recreation.”

The provincial government in Sindh says Karachi’s modernization and beauty are part of the main goal of revitalizing Pakistan’s largest city and economic power, which has long been disrupted by traffic congestion, poor infrastructure and road transportation, lack of water and electricity, and rampant crime. But politicization by local parties and disputes between various levels of government have long hampered Karachi’s growth for decades and continued to hold back development.

In this context, the resort project, called “Beautifying Clifton Beach,” is not an easy task.

This project consists of two main parts. You will start at the Nishan-e-Pakistan monument and end at the Chanki Manki amusement park. It will have footpaths, jogging trails, green areas, seven restaurants built of wood, two emergency rescue rooms and four public conveniences.

The second part, starting from Chanki Manki, will end at the Village restaurant. It will have a food court, a warung, a yoga place, three guard towers, a garden, a magical park, a reading area, a playground for children, prayer facilities, and a beach deck.

According to the CBC, the project is environmentally friendly and has received a certificate from the Sindh Environment Agency.

“The project is planned taking into account environmental aspects, so that no high-rise construction will be involved,” CBC Ali said, adding that 70 percent of the area will be green, covered with grass, mangrove forests and miswak trees, with vegetation functioning as buffer between the main road and the beach. This will also help prevent sand from entering the residential area.

“Over the past decade, many countries in the world, including Saudi Arabia, have developed their beaches and turned them into good recreational areas,” he said. “We also aim to do the same thing.”

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The Islamic Research Center will be renovated with Rs15m: Mayor | Instant News


KARACHI – Karachi Mayor Wasim Akhtar said that two Rs 15 million schemes were created for the renovation of the Islamic Research Center (IRC) in Ayesha Manzil which had previously been returned to its original position.

The mayor made this statement while speaking with officials of the Ministry of Culture and Sports here, said a statement on Monday.

He said that the auditorium would also be rebuilt while the library would also function at the Islamic Research Center. Electricity from the center which was cut off over the past two years has also been restored and the center is now functioning, he added.

Waseem Akhtar was of the view that the center would be used for the purpose of being founded, expressing displeasure with the establishment of theaters and wedding halls at the center in the past.

“Now the center will be used for Islamic teachings, Quranic verse exhibitions and religious activities. The number of Islamic books in the library library will also increase, “he added.

The Senior Director of Sports and Culture told the Mayor about the appointment work carried out so far and said that Ayats Qurani written on the wall had been renovated and all boards had been returned to their original positions.

He added that the auditorium with a capacity of 450 people was also being renovated, adding that the art gallery had been lifted so that the exhibition could be held.

The Mayor directed that no compromise must be made on the standard of materials used for renovations, adding that the work must be done on time.

He said he was satisfied that the center would now be used for the purpose it was made.

He added that Karachi Metropolitan Corporation had eliminated encroachment from the city’s historic sites and returned it to its original position. “The Empress Market and the Karachi Zoo were returned to their original position after the elimination of encroachment.

The traffic woes in Saddar and Garden were also resolved after the transfer and now the residents are quite happy, “he added, explaining that it was one of his top priorities to eliminate encroachment.

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Pakistan: PM Khan warns of possible surge of Eid al-Adha coronavirus Coronavirus pandemic news | Instant News


Islamabad, Pakistan – Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has warned residents to continue to strictly follow government guidelines on limiting interaction, warning of possible new spikes in cases after the Idul Adha holy day this weekend.

Khan’s warning came when the country recorded the lowest one-day increase in cases in nearly three months, according to the latest government data released on Tuesday.

Pakistan watched COVID-19 cases increase by 936, the lowest one-day increase since April 29. Pakistan recorded a total of at least 275,000 cases, according to official data, with almost 6,000 deaths.

Khan addressed the nation from his office in the capital Islamabad on Monday, urging residents to continue to follow the social distance protocol so the economy can be reopened.

“If we have to enforce more lockdowns, it will greatly affect our economy … We will have difficulty finding work for our people,” he said.

Since July 2, the number of cases of active corona virus has decreased dramatically, mainly driven by a surge in recovery and lower rates of new infections. At present, the country has 26,834 active cases, according to official data.

The death rate reaches 2.16 percent, consistent with other countries in the region and far lower than many European or North American countries.

“Our intensive care beds, our oxygenated beds … the pressure is greatly reduced on them,” Khan said.

“The way we see the trend going, is God’s grace … that today Pakistan is among several countries that have managed to control the spread of this virus.”

Prevent ‘second wave’

Khan warned, however, that public gatherings around Eid al-Adha – when Muslims sacrifice animals, distribute their meat to droppings, and gather with extended families and friends – and during Muharram, one month of mourning and mass religious gatherings for Shiite Muslims, can cause a spike in infection.

“The world now knows that when your case falls, if you are not careful, then your case can rise once more,” he said, giving an example of a “second wave” of cases in Spain, Australia and Iran.

“Today, I want all Pakistanis to listen to my words carefully: […] You must understand that both of these events, from Muharram and Eid, if we are not careful, then our case can rise again. It will really damage us. “

A man wears a mask when selling cows for Eid al-Adha at a cattle market in Peshawar, Pakistan [Fayaz Aziz/Reuters]

Also on Monday, the provincial government in Punjab, the country’s most populous province, imposed a surprise full closure, closing all businesses and shops besides grocery stores and pharmacies until August 5.

Punjab Provincial Health Minister Yasmin Rashid said the move was taken to control the possibility of spreading the virus during Eid al-Adha.

“The key announced today is to prevent a surge in post-Idul Adha coronavirus cases,” he said. “To keep the curve flat, given the lack of SOPs followed by the public, this step cannot be avoided to protect us all.”

The number of cases can be higher

Early seroprevalence studies show that the rate of coronavirus infections in Pakistan is much higher than official figures, but the vast majority of those infected are asymptomatic and suffer only a few adverse effects.

According to one such study, conducted by multinational pharmaceutical company Getz Pharma among office workers, health care workers and coronavirus patient contacts in the southern city of Karachi, the number of cases in Pakistan could be far higher than officially reported.

Research conducted using antibody tests, showed that among the 24,210 people tested, 17.5 percent had antibodies for the virus, indicating that they were carrying or had recovered from it.

Extrapolating based on the specific demographics of the categories tested, this study shows the total number of cases in the country could reach 4.2 million, 15.2 times the number recorded by the government.

Pakistan’s testing regime has come under fire in recent days, this number has fallen rapidly from the June 19 level from 31,681 tests to between 18,000 and 25,000 last month.

On Monday, Pakistan conducted 19,610 tests, registering a positive test rate of 4.8 percent. Government officials point to the latest figures as a sign that testing is at an adequate level.

Last week, Dr Zafar Mirza, head of Pakistan’s health ministry, cited a smaller number of patients seeking treatment or testing in hospitals as the main reason for lower testing rates.

On Monday, Khan said that his government had plans to reopen the country’s struggling economy, but that depends on the period during Eid and the month of Muharram.

“If you are careful in Eid, and [in] “Muharram … then we will get the chance to reopen restaurants and tourism,” he said. And then … we need to reopen our universities, our schools and our colleges. “

Asad Hashim is Al Jazeera’s digital correspondent in Pakistan. He tweeted @AsadHashim.

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A key factor of obesity in the fight against coronavirus’ | Instant News


London: obesity remains a major risk factor in the battle against COVID-19, according to a report published on Saturday by researchers in the UK.

In a report published by public health England (FA), a government Agency aimed at improving UK health and welfare, found that the risk of hospitalization, intensive care, treatment and death“ seems to increase with higher BMI’s (body mass index) is higher than in a healthy weight range.”

Among the risk factors, including age, gender and ethnicity, report PHE said weight “may be one of the few modifiable risk factors COVID-19”.

Dr Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist, PHE, said: “it is proved that overweight or obesity increases the risk of serious illness or death from COVID-19, as well as from many other life threatening diseases. In the case of actions on obesity has never been stronger.”

These findings especially in relation to the Gulf States, which have some of the highest obesity rates in the world.

Kuwait is most obese country in the middle East, where the level of obesity of about 37.9 per cent. Saudi Arabia has an obesity rate of 35.4 percent.

In combination with overweight and obesity in the Gulf countries are estimated to be 86 per cent of women and 77% men. Overweight is defined as BMI greater than or equal to 25 and obesity is 30 and above.

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Read MORE: High diabetes and obesity complicates the coronavirus to fight the GCC

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Insights VET about the importance of weight in surviving infection have recently been given additional credence separate research teams from the University of Toronto and the University of Texas.

By comparing the number of cases and mortality among the 50 most affected countries in the world, they found that strict measures of isolation does not affect the mortality rate.

Instead their results suggested that one of the most important factors affecting the mortality rate and the prevalence of obesity in each country, economic indicators also play a role.

The report States: “When COVID-19 mortality were evaluated, variables significantly associated with increased mortality in the population, the prevalence of obesity and gross domestic product per capita”.

Conclusions the article has been disputed by some scientists in connection with the alleged narrow field of research.

However, in combination with a New study of PHE, it becomes increasingly evident that obesity and health are key areas that governments, especially in the Persian Gulf, due to high rates of obesity — can apply in order to help their fight against the disease.

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The deal: the inter-Afghan talks hang by a thread, as Kabul, the Taliban set conditions | Instant News


Lahore: the government of Afghanistan said Saturday that there are still opportunities for peace in the war-ravaged country, but that the Taliban should shun violence first to engage in direct negotiations with Kabul.

“There is a possibility for peace, on the condition that the Taliban renounce violence and agree to direct negotiations with the Afghan government,” Sediq Seddiqi, chief press Secretary to the President Ashraf Ghani, told Arab news.

His comments came a day after US special envoy for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad said that the inter-Afghan negotiations was “never” was as close as they currently were.

“This is an important moment for Afghanistan and the region — perhaps at the decisive moment,” Khalilzad, who has signed a historic deal with the Taliban in Doha, Qatar, in late February of this year, said Friday, speaking at a virtual event organized in Washington, United States Institute of peace.

On Thursday, the Taliban said, for the first time, the date for starting talks with Kabul after tightening them twice in connection with the preliminary conditions established by the group and the government Ghani.

Confirming messages, Suhail Shaheen, a spokesman for the Taliban in the Qatar office, said that negotiations could begin after the Eid al-Adha, which is celebrated by Muslims around the world in 10 days, while the “Kabul released the prisoners,” the list for which is with the government.

Ghani government, which was away from the Qatar talks, refused to free hundreds of Taliban prisoners, as required by the group, which will review more than 4,000 militants have released from Afghan prisons in recent months, and says that the Taliban must cease violence“ to show their sincerity” for negotiations.

“The release of more than 4,000 Taliban prisoners … has created this opportunity and should be considered a big step and needs to be mutual the Taliban to stop the violence. The world and the Afghan people want peace and are tired of war,” said Seddiqi.

The Taliban, for its part, freed about 1,000 inmates by the government as part of a prisoner exchange program outlined in the Qatar agreement, which, according to the agreement, was to be completed by the end of March to pave the way for the withdrawal of all foreign troops from Afghanistan by next spring.

However, despite the optimism of Mr. Khalilzad, that the negotiations can become a reality in the near future, some Afghan analysts believe the persistence of the Taliban in the future releases, and the government’s efforts to end the insurgent activity, can block the dialogue.

“Both sides reiterated their recent background. If there is leniency from them, it is hard to be optimistic, as Khalilzad was,” Taj Mohammad, a Kabul-based analyst and former journalist, told Arab news.

Nasratullah Haqpal, a political analyst at the Central and South Asia, agreed, adding that the delay in the inter-Afghan negotiations was to put pressure on both Khalilzad and U.S. Secretary of state Mike Pompeo, who appointed Khalilzad as two years ago.

The US President Donald trump, who is standing for re-election in November, seeks to withdraw all American troops from Afghanistan after 19 years of war, despite the opposition from some current and former American generals during, and Ghani, who is in his second term after last year’s controversial elections.

Said Haqpal Khalilzad and some other American diplomats, was “exerting pressure on Ghani” to release the remaining Taliban prisoners and engage in talks with the Taliban, while “Gani was against the peace process … because it threatens its power and the presidency.”

Mistrust on all sides and each of which uses the peace process in their favor, Haqpal said that there will be no clarity about the initiation of peace talks before the presidential elections in the United States.

“While we will not have any tangible changes,” he told Arab news.

Mohammad said that instead, there may be more violence in the coming months both parties “tend to use domination on the field of battle for advantage at the negotiating table” when and if the negotiations start.

There has been a surge of attacks and counter-attacks by the Taliban and the Afghan government in recent months, resulting in hundreds of casualties on both sides Sediqqi said earlier this month that “the increased violence by the Taliban in recent times”, which also led to the death of civilians, “damage hopes for the start of negotiations and lasting peace in the country.”

He gave no estimate of losses by government forces. However, official data published last month showed that hundreds of soldiers and police officers were killed during a Taliban attack in June.

The Taliban have rejected these claims, a spokesman zabihullah Mujahid, accusing Kabul for a few strokes, which “has led to casualties among non-combatants.”

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Waves of migrants turn the Italian island into ‘barrels of gunpowder’ | Instant News


ROME: Tensions on Lampedusa, a small island in Italy in the middle of the Mediterranean, are at their peak following the arrival of more than 250 migrants from Libya in the past two days, with the island’s mayor describing the situation as an “explosion”.

The latest group of migrants landed on small ships on Saturday, placing further strain on the overcrowded Lampedusa holding center.

A wave of more than 1,000 migrants has reached the island from Libya in the past three days.

“The current situation cannot be managed. This is an emergency, “Salvatore Martello, mayor of Lampedusa, told Arab News.

“If the government does not declare a state of emergency, I will do it,” he said.

The migrants were rescued at sea or managed to avoid detection by Italian and Libyan coast guards.

All arrivals – some traveling by boat carrying only six to eight people – are sent to the island’s shelter, known as a “hotspot.”

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READ MORE: Videos of the abuse of Italian police against Tunisian migrants went viral

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Designed to accommodate around 100 people, this facility now holds 10 times that amount.

Local officials on Saturday ordered an emergency transfer of around 300 migrants to another center in Sicily.

“Hotspots can no longer welcome migrants,” Martello said. “Responsibility for this emergency should not fall with the mayor, the city government and the people who live on the island.”

He said: “It seems impossible to stop this wave. We have moved a number of migrants to Sicily, but by the time they left the island, more were coming, so the hotspots remained crowded.

“Today there is no planned transfer to Porto Empedocle (in Sicily), but five boats have arrived from Tunisia.”

Lampedusa is about 100 km from the coast of Tunisia.

Italian Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese is expected to go to Tunis on Monday to hold talks with Tunisian authorities on a joint strategy to prevent migrants from leaving the country for Italy.

“The Tunisian government must do something, they must work together to stop this wave. Italy cannot be left alone, “Anna Maria Bernini, a Forza Italia senator, told Arab news.

“We understand that people want to escape from Libya where there is no peace, but Tunisia is safe as far as we know. So they have to do something fast, otherwise Lampedusa will explode,” he said.

The Tunisian Institute of Statistics said it would collect data until March 2021 to help determine the country’s migration policy.

Meanwhile, the Italian foreign ministry has allocated funds to support the International Organization for Migration in Tunisia, which helps the voluntary return of migrants.

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Pop-up shops, textile companies are moving to the bustling Pakistan mask market | Instant News


ISLAMABAD: A 103-year-old man has recovered from COVID-19 in Pakistan to become one of the oldest survivors of the disease in the world, beating the odds in a country with a weak health care system, relatives and doctors said.
Aziz Abdul Alim, a resident of a village in the northern Chitral mountainous district, was released last week from the emergency response center after being tested positive in early July.
“We are worried about him considering his age, but he is not at all worried,” Alim’s son Sohail Ahmed told Reuters by telephone from his village, close to Pakistan’s borders with China and Afghanistan.
Ahmed quoted his father as saying that he had been through many things in life and the corona virus did not scare him. But he, does not like being in isolation.
A carpenter until his 70s, Alim has outlived three wives and nine sons and daughters, said Ahmed, himself in his 50s, adding that his father had separated from his fourth wife and is currently married to his fifth daughter. .
Alim must also be given moral and psychological support during his isolation and treatment, said Dr. Sardar Nawaz, a senior medical officer at the Aga Khan Health Services emergency center, told Reuters on Friday.
The emergency center was set up in the women’s dormitory only a few weeks before Alim was brought in and was the only one equipped to deal with COVID-19 patients remotely.
Pakistan has registered more than 270,000 cases of illness and 5,763 deaths. While the number of people who tested positive has declined over the past month, government officials fear there will be another increase during the Muslim religious festival Eid al-Adha, which falls on August 1.

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