Baseless Jadhav claims
India continues to attempt to repaint the ICJ judgement in the Kulbhushan Jadhav case as something very different from what the court wrote. The Foreign Office has, for the umpteenth time, rejected “baseless and inaccurate” claims by India, in this instance by Harish Salve, a former solicitor general of India who also served as the country’s legal counsel in the Jadhav case before the ICJ. Last week, Salve made a series of claims during an online lecture, including that India has been trying to use back-channel diplomacy to convince Pakistan to release Jadhav. The more controversial claim, however, was that Pakistan had refused to respond to how it would follow through on the ICJ judgement. Salve claimed India had written four letters to Pakistan seeking information on the progress in implementing the judgement, and Pakistan was refusing to answer them. He also claimed Pakistan had delayed the grant of consular access, and India might go back to the ICJ to get the judgement enforced, specifically the review of Jadhav’s case.
The Foreign Office countered over the weekend by noting that Pakistan “fully complied” with the judgement. The FO clarified that Pakistan granted India consular access and is “processing measures for effective review and reconsideration as per the guidelines provided by ICJ in its judgment”. Salve’s statements were “regrettable and a misrepresentation of facts”, according to the FO. But why would the otherwise well-reputed Salve lie? An answer may be in his audience. The lecture was organised by Akhil Bharatiya Adhivakta Parishad, the lawyers’ wing of the RSS. Obviously, admitting Pakistan was following the law would have probably gotten him in trouble. After all, this is the lawyers’ wing of a body that did not even accept the Constitution of India for decades and has been involved in domestic terrorism. But why Salve would have even chosen to speak to them is still not clear. Just imagine if a top Pakistani lawyer had given a lecture to the Taliban.
Recycling of hospital waste
There is no such thing as away; things we throw away go somewhere and end up as some things useful or harmful. According to a report in this newspaper, around 100 tonnes of hospital waste in Punjab are illegally supplied daily to plastic recycling factories in the province. According to a provincial health department official, things have been made easy because of the unavailability of incinerators at government hospitals. The hazardous hospital waste is recycled into pots, toys, decoration pieces and other items. The unsterilised hazardous waste is supplied to home-based and other small recycling factories in Lahore and other parts of the province, though there are isolated designated spots in cities and towns where the dangerous hospital waste is to be dumped.
It is unclear whether the medical waste goes directly to traders from the hospital or they are lifted from the dumping sites. While there are no laws to regulate the disposal of the dangerous waste material but only some SOPs, these too are often ignored. Medical experts are of the view that the haphazard disposal of hazardous hospital waste and their recycling into pots and other items are contributing to the spread of hepatitis, cancer, HIV/AIDS and other dangerous diseases. The hospital waste resulting from the contagious coronavirus disease is adding to the problem.
The theft of hazardous hospital waste is rampant at hospitals in Lahore — something that is not possible without the involvement of hospital administrations. However, a Punjab health department spokesperson has refuted the claim. On the other hand, what factory owners say lends credence to the allegations of hospital waste theft. They say hospital waste is turned into granules in factories, and from the plastic granules are manufactured toys, pots and other household items. All such recycled items are exposing people to deadly diseases, including the newly-emerged Covid-19. Allowing recycling of hospital waste is a dangerous idea.
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