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April 01, 2022: National / International Current Affairs
1. Vote on PM`s fate must wait till Sunday
• After the government faced defeat in a vote on a motion for allowing the assembly hall to be used for a security briefing, Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri on March 31, 2022 adjourned the National Assembly sitting within minutes, without allowing the much-anticipated debate on the no-confidence resolution against Prime Minister Imran Khan, despite calls from the opposition benches.
• Members of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P), Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) and Shahzain Bugti of the Jamhoori Watan Party the three former allies of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) sat on the opposition benches, thus proving that the prime minister has now clearly lost his majority in the 342-member house.
• The deputy speaker adjourned the sitting until Sunday morning, when the house is expected to vote on the no-trust resolution.
• Later, speaking at a news conference, opposition leaders lambasted the deputy speaker for not initiating the promised debate on the resolution, claiming that as many as 175 members were present in the house on the opposition benches
2. No-trust to increase policy uncertainty, says Moody`s
• Moody`s Investor Service on March 31, 2022 warned that a no confidence motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan would increase policy uncertainty amid rising inflation, widening current account deficit and depleting foreign exchange reserves.
• The New York-based credit rating agency termed the situation `a credit negative` given the associated gap in policy and decision making. `We view the no confidence motion as credit negative because it raises significant uncertainty over policy continuity, as well as the government`s ability to continue to implement reforms to increase productivity growth and secure external financing, including from the International Monetary Fund (IMF)
3. Curtain falls on NCOC as nation looks beyond Covid
• As the Covid-19 pandemic subsides, Prime Minister Imran Khan formally shut down the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), which has overseen the government`s pandemic response and kept the nation updated on daily cases, deaths, recoveries, number of vaccinations, etc.
• The announcement came just four days after the centre marked two years of its establishment and two weeks after the government announced that Covid has normalised after infecting more than 1.5 million Pakistani and taking the lives of 30,355 people since March 2020.
• `Today, as the NCOC closes down, I want to congratulate the NCOC team and its leadership for a professional, nationally coordinated response to the pandemic. As a result, our Covid response was recognised by [international] agencies and people in the field as one of the most successful globally, the premier tweeted
4. 4,500MW power shortfall causes hours-long outages
• With power shortfall surging to around 4,500 megawatts, all nine power distribution companies (Discos) on Thursday started observing hours-long forced loadshedding/load management in urban and rural areas across the country.
• However, the situation is more alarming than it may sound, as according to reports there were hourly power outages during peak hours even in big cities, including Lahore, and 12 to 16 hours in rural areas, according to official sources.
• `The total demand of the Lahore Electric Supply Company (Lesco) crossed 4,200MW during peak hours on Thursday, whereas the supply, as per the squeezed allocation, ranged between 3,100MW to 3200MW. It means that Lesco alone is facing a shortfall of at least 900MW,` an official source explained while talking to Dawn on Thursday. `Various power plants, including the nuclear K2, K3, C3, developed a fault and halted power generation.
5. Irsa fails to finalise provincial water shares for Kharif
• With lower than normal snowfall in recent winter and less rainfall expected over the next two months, the Indus River System Authority (Irsa) on March 31, 2022 estimated more than 15 per cent water shortage during the Kharif season this year, but could not finalise provincial shares at an acrimonious session.
• As a result, the Irsa Advisory Committee (IAC) would again meet on Friday to finalise water shortage estimates and then try to take a decision on water distribution among the provinces.
• The IAC did not allow closure of tunnel-3 for additional power units because it would affect water flows for three years and the provinces opposed it.