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‘Epsilon’: California variant of COVID reaches Pakistan

Health officials have announced that another variant of the deadly coronavirus had managed to reach Pakistan amidst a gradual drop in national Covid-19 cases and deaths.

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‘Epsilon’: California variant of COVID reaches Pakistan
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Lahore: Health authorities in Pakistan’s Punjab province have issued an alert following the detection of five ‘Epsilon’ strain of Covid-19 in Lahore.

Health officials have announced that another variant of the deadly coronavirus had managed to reach Pakistan amidst a gradual drop in national Covid-19 cases and deaths.

Member Scientific Task Force on Covid-19 Dr Javed Akram said a virulent variant of Covid-19 called 'Epsilon' had been detected. 

"This variant had originated in California, which was why it was called the California strain or B.1.429," Dr Akram said.

He further added that, the variant later reached the UK and other European countries.

"Now we have been receiving cases in Pakistan," said Dr Akram.

He further added, "We need to understand that the virus has been controlled but not eradicated, therefore, there are chances of it bouncing back”.

Dr Akram, the vice chancellor of the University of Health Sciences said that around 40 patients had been confirmed in Pakistan having the strain through gene sequencing, but this was not an accurate figure. 

"Gene sequencing has not been done on every patient," he added.

Interestingly, the Epsilon variant is not new. It was first detected in California in 2020 and is also known as B.1.429 and CAL.20C and has five defining mutations, of which the L452R is of particular concern. 

It is said to be more infectious and vaccine resistant in nature.

Mehak Javed

Mehak Javed is immensely creative and an enthusiastic journalist, contributing in the publication of timely and accurate news. She is a skilled writer along proven history of achievement in the field with several years of professional experience. Mehak is working with GNN since 2020.

Pakistan

CJP Gulzar for returning military land not under defence use to govt

The army is there for the country's defence and not for doing business, he remarked.

Published by Faisal Ali Ghumman

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CJP Gulzar for returning military land not under defence use to govt

The law didn't allow land meant for defence purposes to be used for commercial gains and that such land should be returned to the government after its strategic use, Chief Justice of Pakistan Gulzar Ahmed on Tuesday said on Tuesday. 

A three-judge Supreme Court bench headed by the chief justice and comprising Justice Qazi Mohammad Amin Ahmed and Justice Ijazul Ahsan resumed the hearing on the issue of military lands being used for commercial purposes.

During the hearing, the chief justice again snubbed Defence Secretary retired Lt Gen Mian Mohammad Hilal Hussain over commercial establishments being built on military land.

"The law's intention is not that defence land is used for any other purpose," Justice Gulzar reiterated. "If the land is not being used for defence then it will go back to the government."

"This is government land," the top judge said, noting that cinemas, petrol pumps, housing societies, shopping malls and marriage halls were being constructed on land meant for defence.

"General sahib, these are not defence purposes," he told the defence secretary, asking the attorney general to explain how the defence ministry would "limit the land's use to defence".

The court said it would interpret the law concerning the land of cantonment boards in light of the Constitution, with Justice Amin remaking: "This is also very important for the institution's own reputation."

The CJP then turned to the attorney general, saying "They must be made to understand the law, who will do that?"

He said a retired major had given the land of Global Marquees, a wedding venue near Gora Qabristan, on lease to a private party, and asked whether he had the authority to do so.

"The army did not take any action against the retired major," the CJP said, noting that millions of rupees were being earned through Global Marquees on a daily basis.

The CJP ordered authorities to demolish a wall built next to Kala Pul as well as the Grand Convention Hall "today".

The CJP expressed dissatisfaction over a report submitted by the defence secretary regarding the case, saying the report "claims the illegally built buildings have been demolished, but they are still there".

The defence secretary responded that he would visit the sites in person and take pictures to compile a new report.

"This situation is a cause of embarrassment for the army and us both," CJP Ahmed remarked, following which the attorney general offered to withdraw the report submitted today.

The court directed him to submit a detailed report within four weeks, identifying the purposes of each piece of cantonment land.

"Under the law, strategic land will only be used for defence purposes," the CJP told the defence secretary.

The secretary informed the court that the scope of the term "strategic objectives" was "wide", saying commercial activities also fell into the category of "strategic defence".

"Whenever the army goes to the borders, these activities are carried out for the purpose of welfare and to keep the morale of the army high," Hussain explained.

At this, the CJP said: "Secretary sahib everything is fine, but where is the cantonment there? All we can see there are houses."

Justice Ahmed pointed out that schools and marriage halls had also been built on Faisal Base land.

"It is being said that Masroor and Korangi airbases are being shut and [perhaps] commercial activities will be started there," the CJP added.

He noted that cantonment land had to be returned to the government after defence objectives were met.

"The army should not compromise on its bigger objectives for petty business," Justice Qazi Amin remarked, adding that the military should be mindful of the sanctity of its institution.

CJP Ahmed pointed out that shopping malls had also been built on defence land in Lahore and Quetta, saying "it is not clear how the Ministry of Defence will sustain these activities."

The defence secretary informed the court that a joint committee of all three armed forces had been formed to check violations of the law.

The CJP further said that "allotting houses to senior army officers does not fall under defence purposes."

"How can the army carry out commercial activities on state land?" he questioned, emphasising that state land should not be "exploited".

Justice Ahmed said the issue was not limited to Karachi, but such violations were common across the country.

Justice Amin said it was incomprehensible why the army needed to indulge itself in business, while the CJP noted that "the army has constructed a tall building on Gizri Road overnight."

He asked that if constructing cinemas, marriage halls and houses were "defence activities" then what was actual defence.

The CJP further said the land sold by some army officers for a few hundreds of thousands had been used to build houses that were now worth tens of millions.

"All the land of cantonments must be restored to its original condition," the CJ said, adding the SC would also review all of the army rules and laws in light of the Constitution.

"The army is there for the country's defence, not for doing business," the CJP remarked.

Later the bench adjourned the hearing for four weeks.

 

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Pakistan

18.8 million mobile units manufactured in Pakistan in 10 months: Dawood

Adviser to the Prime Minister on Commerce and Investment, Abdul Razak Dawood on Tuesday said domestic manufacturing mobile plants in Pakistan produced 18.87 million mobile units during the period of January to October 2021.

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18.8 million mobile units manufactured in Pakistan in 10 months: Dawood

During the period of January to October 2021, domestic manufacturing mobile plants in Pakistan produced 18.87 million mobile units, including 7.93 million 4G mobile phones compared to 9.45 million imported mobile phones.

The Ministry of Commerce’s ‘Make in Pakistan’ philosophy is giving the results and “we look forward for sustainable growth for the long run.”

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Pakistan

Court orders former chief judge Rana Shamim to submit original affidavit within 5 days

"Rana Shamim had tried to convince the people to lose confidence in court"

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Court orders former chief judge Rana Shamim to submit original affidavit within 5 days

Islamabad: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Tuesday has ordered Gilgit Baltistan former chief judge Rana Shamim to submit the original draft of the original affidavit within five days.

According to details, Islamabad High Court (IHC) bench headed by Justice Athar Minallah took up contempt of court case over the affidavit of Rana Shamim. 

During the proceeding, Justice Athar Minallah remarked that Rana Shamim had tried to convince the people to lose confidence in court.

He remarked that if the original affidavit was found different from the affidavit being reported. Then the responsibility will be on the newspaper.

Rana Shamim told court that his affidavit was sealed one, but he did not know which affidavit was reported.

IHC CJ Athar Minallah directed the former GB chief judge to submit his original affidavit in the court along with his written response in the case within five days and adjourned the hearing of the case for seven days.

Attorney General Khalid Javed Khan requested the court to take action against Rana Shamim.

The court adjourned the hearing till December 7.

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