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From Pakistan, With Love!

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New Delhi: A group of doctors has returned to India after two successful liver transplants in Lahore, with “lots of love and lots of goodwill” from Pakistan.

A seven-member team led by Subhash Gupta of Apollo Hospital here along with Pakistani doctors conducted the lengthy surgeries in Lahore’s Shaikh Zaid Hospital — the equivalent of Delhi’s AIIMS — Feb 9 and 10.

The first transplant involved a sister who donated a part of her liver to her brother. This one, on Feb 9, lasted from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., a gruelling 16 hours.

In the second case, a son donated a part of his liver to his mother. This operation took two hours less. 

K. Lalitha, the Apollo anaesthetist who was in the team, explained that the surgeries involved taking out a person’s half or two-thirds of a liver and transplanting it on another person.

Meticulous care is needed when the surgery is on — it involves two lives, the donor and the receiver. The Indian doctors charged no fees.

”Doctors from Pakistan trained in this wanted to start this programme,” the 53-year-old Lalitha told IANS. 

”They had done one transplant with help from a British team. But apparently the Brits didn’t travel this time due to security reasons. So they requested Apollo Hospital,” said Lalitha, who became a doctor in 1980. She added that Gupta had done many such transplants in Delhi and elsewhere.

”This was the first time we went to Pakistan. You may say it was a goodwill mission. There were competent Pakistani doctors too with us. Our team included a technician, two nurses and two assistants.”

After reaching Lahore Feb 8, the transplants happened over the next two days. “In the end, both patients are doing fine, and we are naturally very happy.”

The Delhi-born Lalitha — who along with her doctor-husband N. Subramanian is a versatile singer of Bollywood classics — is full of praise for the numerous Pakistanis she met.

”They were excellent people, beautiful people. They looked after us really very, very well.”

And keeping in mind the uncertainties of Pakistan, commandos were provided to protect the Indians.

”We of course did not have much time to go around Lahore. But the people — doctors, their families, the patients’ families — all of them gave all of us so much happiness and joy.

”I am really happy I went to Pakistan. I now want to go again, for tourism perhaps. I went there for the excitement of going to Pakistan,” she said. 

”We had fun. We could speak the language, the food was ours, the language was ours, Lahore was just like Delhi.

”And we were stuffed with more food than we would normally eat!”

Happy with what Gupta and his team had done for the two patients, the Pakistani hosts presented the Indian team shawls and carpets as souvenirs.

But Lalitha said the real gifts from Pakistan were not that.

”What we got in Pakistan was priceless… We got lots of love and lots of goodwill. And new friends.”

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SOUTH ASIA

Pakistani Anti-graft body wants travel ban on Nawaz Sharif, kin

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Nawaz sharif

Pakistan’s anti-corruption watchdog has asked authorities to place ousted premier Nawaz Sharif, his daughter and son-in-law on the Exit Control List to prevent them from leaving the country.

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) sent a formal request to the ministry of interior. The interior ministry officials confirmed that the NAB wrote that names of Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Capt (retd) Muhammad Safdar should be put on the Exit Control List (ECL), which listed individuals not allowed to leave Pakistan.

The NAB argued that as the trial of the three nears its conclusion, it is feared that they would leave the country.

Earlier, a similar request to place name of finance minister Ishaq Dar on ECL was not accepted, allowing him to go to London and never return.

Sharif, 68, and his family this week filed an application with the accountability court seeking a fortnight’s exemption from personal appearance from February 19 onwards to let them go to London to see Sharif’s ailing wife. Three cases were filed against Sharif and his family last year, including Avenfield properties, Azizia & Hill Metal Establishment, and Flagship Investments.

Maryam and Safdar are accused only in Avenfield properties case. The NAB had filed two supplementary references against Sharif, his sons Hasan and Hussain regarding Al-Azizia Steel Mills & Hill Metal Establishment and Flagship Investment cases.

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SOUTH ASIA

Pakistan “breaches obligations’ on nuclear arms reduction, UN court told

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The Hague: Pakistan is violating its “obligations” to the international community by failing to reduce its nuclear arsenal, the Marshall Islands told the UN’s highest court on Tuesday.

The small Pacific Island nation is this week launching three unusual cases against India, Pakistan and Britain before the International Court of Justice.

Majuro wants to put a new spotlight on the global nuclear threat, its lawyers said yesterday, by using its own experience with massive US-led nuclear tests in the 1940s and 1950s.

“Pakistan is in breach of its obligations owed to the international community as a whole,” when it comes to reducing its nuclear stockpile, said Nicholas Grief, one of the island nation’s lawyers.

Islamabad and its nuclear-armed neighbour India “continue to engage in a quantitative build-up and a qualitative improvement” of their atomic stockpiles, added Tony deBrum, a Marshallese government minister.

DeBrum warned that even a “limited nuclear war” involving the two countries would “threaten the existence” of his island nation people.

Pakistan and India have fought three wars since independence from Britain in 1947, two of them over the disputed Himalayan territory of Kashmir.

In 1998, the rival neighbours both demonstrated nuclear weapons capability.

The ICJ’s judges are holding hearings for the next week and a half to decide whether it is competent to hear the lawsuits brought against India and Pakistan — neither of which have signed the 1968 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

A third hearing against Britain — which has signed the NPT — scheduled to start on Wednesday will be devoted to “preliminary objections” raised by London.

The Marshalls initially sought to bring a case against nine countries it said possessed nuclear arms: Britain, China, France, India, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia and the United States.
Israel has never admitted to having nuclear weapons.

But the Hague-based ICJ, set up in 1945 to rule in disputes between states, has only admitted three cases against Britain, India and Pakistan, because they have accepted the ICJ’s compulsory jurisdiction.

Pakistan’s lawyers did not attend Tuesday’s hearings.

It did however file a counter-claim against Majuro’s allegations saying “the court has no jurisdiction to deal with the application” and insisting that the case is “not admissible”, said ICJ President Ronny Abraham.

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SOUTH ASIA

Bangladesh to drop Islam as official religion following attacks on Hindus

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Bangladesh to drop Islam as official religion following attacks on Hindus

New Delhi: Bangladesh is likely to drop Islam as its official religion following a series of attacks on people from other faiths in the country. The country’s Supreme Court is hearing a plea challenging the status of the official religion of the country to Islam.

Bangladesh, which was declared a secular country after its formation in 1971, was declared an Islamic country following a constitutional amendment in 1988.

According to a report in the Daily Mail, the plea has challenged the declaration of Islam as the national religion of the country.

The move is being supported by leaders from the minority communities like Hindus, Christians and Muslim minority Shiites.

Bangladesh has 90 per cent of Muslims, 8 per cent Hindus and remaining constitutes Christians and Muslim minority Shiites.

In last month, a Hindu priest was hacked to death following an attack on a temple in Panchgarh district. Two others were seriously injured in the attack. There have been several lethal attacks on writers and bloggers.

According to a report in the Independent, Islamist groups Jumatul Mujahedeen Bangladesh and Ansarullah Bangla Team are believed to have carried out at least seven attacks on foreign and minority people in Bangladesh in the past year.

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Temple

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