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April 28, 2022: National / International Current Affairs
1. LHC wants governor to ensure CM takes oath today
• The Lahore High Court (LHC) on April 27, 2022 advised the Punjab governor to ensure completion of the process of the administration of oath to chief minister-elect Hamza Shehbaz either himself or through his nominee not later than Thursday (today).
• In a related development, the PML-N, PPP and the PTI`s dissident lawmakers in the province have decided to support Punjab Assembly Deputy Speaker Dost Muhammad Mazari as the provincial legislature is set to take up a no trust resolution against him on Thursday.
• Meanwhile, sources close to Punjab Governor Umar Sarfraz Cheema said there were no plans to administer the oath to Hamza
2. Bilawal becomes youngest foreign minister
• Following in the footsteps of his grandfather Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari on April 27, 2022 took oath as the foreign minister, formally joining the federal cabinet of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.
• President Dr Arif Alvi administered the oath to the PPP chairman at the presidency. On the occasion, the venue echoed with slogans of `Jiye Bhutto` as soon as Mr Bilawal was sworn in as Pakistan`s youngest foreign minister.
• PM Sharif, PPP Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari and Sanam Bhutto, the sister of slain former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, were also present at the swearing-in ceremony.
3. IMF, Pakistan technical-level talks begin
• Minister of State for Finance Aisha Ghaus Pasha said on April 27, 2022 that Pakistan and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have started their technical level talks for an enhanced financial package from the fund.
• In Dubai, a senior IMF officials told journalists that the fund has urged Pakistan to bring its current account deficit under control as the country`s new government seeks an increase in the size and duration of the current programme.
• In 2019, the IMF approved a $6 billion loan for Pakistan but concerns about the pace of IMF-mandated reforms have delayed its disbursements, although half of this amount has been disbursed.
• The IMF completed the 6th review of the programme in February, which led to the disbursement of $1bn. Pakistan has asked the IMF to enhance its bailout package from the remaining $3bn to $5bn
4. Sehat Card programme to get legal protection as KP cabinet okays bill
• The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa cabinet on April 27, 2022 approved proposed legislation to give legal cover to the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf`s flagship free healthcare initiative, Sehat Card programme.
• According to spokesman for the government Barrister Mohammad Ali Saif, the KP Universal Health Coverage Bill, 2022, will ensure the continuation of the Sehat Card programme on a permanent basis to provide free health services to the people of the province.
• The cabinet met with Chief Minister Mahmood Khan in the chair. Ministers and administrative secretaries also attended the meeting.
5. Govt raises T-bill yields by up to 129bps
• After an unexpected increase of up to 129 basis points by the government in April 27, 2022 auction, the cut-off yields on treasury bills hit a 22-year high creating a large room for further hike in the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) policy rate.
• In the first week of this month, the central bank had increased the benchmark interest rate by 250 basis points to 12.25 per cent to counter the growing inflationary pressure and rising cut-off yields on T-bills.
• The SBP on Wednesday reported that the government increased the benchmark six-month T-bills rates by 114 basis points to 14.99 per cent. Money market experts were not expecting such a high rate as it has reduced profits on their previous investments in T-bills