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April 08, 2022: National / International Current Affairs
1. PM faces ignoble exit after historic ruling
• The Supreme Court of Pakistan on April 7, 2022 night issued a historic judgement denouncing the dissolution of the National Assembly by President Dr Arif Alvi on April 3 and ordered Prime Minister Imran Khan to face the vote of no confidence on Saturday.
• In a unanimous short order announced by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial to capacity crowd at Courtroom No.1, the apex court also set aside the ruling of Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri that had blocked under Article 5 voting on the no-confidence move by holding it contrary to the Constitution.
• Soon after the judgement was announced, political workers of all shades who had converged on the apex court in large numbers burst into jubilation, raising slogans in favour of the court and against Prime Minister Imran Khan, who along with his cabinet stands restored
2. In rare big jump, SBP hikes policy rate by 250bps
• In the biggest hike in years, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) raised its policy rate by 250 basis points to 12.25 per cent in an emergency meeting on April 7, 2022 and the bank said in a statement that more steps like an increase in export refinancing rates and cash margin on imports will be announced soon.
• The SBP cited a deterioration in the outlook for inflation and an increase in risks to external stability, heightened by the Russia-Ukraine conflict, as well as political uncertainty at home.
• The hike was unscheduled as the next monetary policy committee (MPC) meeting was set for late April. However, the bank warned last month that it could meet earlier than expected to safeguard external and price stability
3. ECP proposes general elections around October
• The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on April 7, 2022 proposed conducting general elections in the country by October.
• In his statement before the Supreme Court on April 7, 2022 night, when asked whether the E CP would be ready to hold election in 90 days, Chief Election Commissioner Sikander Sultan Raja explained that despite repeated requests to the government to allow delimitation of the constituencies, it could not be held in time.
• He told the court that the commission would take a minimum of four months to conduct the delimitation and another 90 days for the general elections.
• The CEC said that he personally wrote 16 letters to the government from May 2020 to 2021 seeking permission to conduct the delimitation but the government was interested in digital census.
4. Health emergency extended again in KP to deal with Covid threat
• The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has extended health emergency for another three months to be able to deal with any immediate threat of Covid-19.
• Despite downtrend in cases and mortallties due to the pandemic, emergency has been extended till June in view of the reports of new Covid-19 variants being detected in many countries around the world, according to officials.
• The health department had invoked Public Health (Surveillance and Response) Act, 2017 in February 2020 for the first time to pave way for speedy procurement of medical and surgical supplies to deal with the threat posed by the outbreak of Covid-19
5. Inter-district wheat movement banned in Punjab
• In the wake of reports of poor crop this year, the government has decided to ban inter-district wheat movement so that the official target of procuring 3.5 million tonnes of grain in the province may be achieved.
• Punjab has cultivated wheat at 16.67m acres this year, a drop of 2.8per centin the acreage against its assigned target of over 16.8m acres.
• Climate change resulting in poor rainfall and abnormal rise in temperature close to the maturity stage of the crop while fertiliser crisis at the beginning of the Rabi season are likely to cause at least 15pc decrease in the overall yield