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April 29, 2022: National / International Current Affairs
1. Country swelters as power outages disrupt daily life
• The menace of loadshedding swept across the country on April 28, 2022, leaving homes and businesses in the dark as temperatures continued to rise ahead of a forecast heatwave.
• Citizens complained of 6 to 10 hours of outages in urban areas, while those in rural parts of the country including localities falling within the service area of high-loss feeders witnessed 8 to 16 hours of loadshedding.
• No part of the country was spared the blackouts.
• `Since Wednesday, the duration of loadshedding has gone up to eight hours or more in Lahore; four to six hours in the day and two to four hours at night,` deplored a resident of Lahore`s Johar Town locality
2. Punjab Assembly fails to meet as staff arrested
• The much-awaited Punjab Assembly session that was called on April 28, 2022 to take up the no-trust motion against its deputy speaker had to be postponed, as police force cordoned off the premises, arrested the assembly`s coordination secretary and were conducting raids to arrest the secretary to avert `a situation prejudicial to public safety and maintenance of public order`.
• Explaining his decision, Punjab Assembly Speaker Chaudhry Parvez Elahi said he felt compelled to postpone the session for May 16 as an uncalled-for situation had been created by the civil administration by `harassing and arresting` assembly staff members. He said the administration made these inappropriate moves in and outside the assembly at the behest of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and his son Hamza Shehbaz.
• In a related development, Governor Omer Sarfraz Cheema again did not administer oath to CM-elect Hamza Shehbaz on April 28, 2022, in defiance of the Lahore High Court`s order of Wednesday. The LHC had ordered him to nominate someone to do it if he was not able do so
3. Govt to end interest-based banking by Dec 2027
• The Federal Shariat Court (FSC) on April 28, 2022 asked the government to eliminate Riba (interest) from Pakistan by Dec 31, 2027 after declaring its prohibition in all forms and manifestations to be Islamic and in accordance with the holy Quran and Sunnah.
• The court specified Dec 31, 2027 as the date for the decision to take effect by way of complete elimination of Riba, adding the five years till then are reasonably enough to convert Pakistan`s economy into one that is equitable, asset based, risk-sharing and interest-free.
• Announced by a three-judge bench comprising FSC Chief Justice Muhammad Noor Meskanzai, Justice Dr Syed Muhammad Anwer and Justice Khadim Hussain M Shaikh, the 298-page long overdue judgement also explained that any interest stipulated in the government borrowings acquired from domestic or foreign sources was Riba and clearly prohibited by the holy Quran and Sunnah
4. PM arrives in Saudi Arabia
• Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif arrived Madina on April 28, 2022 on a three-day visit to Saudi Arabia on the invitation of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz.
• This is the prime minister`s first visit abroad after assuming the office earlier this month.
• Governor of Madina Faisal bin Salman Al Saud and high-level Saudi officials received the prime minister and members of his delegation.
• The prime minister was accompanied by Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, Miftah Ismail, Nawabzada Shahzain Bugti, Marriyum Aurangzeb, Khawaja Muhammad Asif, Chaudhry Salik Hussain, Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, Mohsin Dawar and Maulana Tahir Ashrafi
5. PML-N`s Musadik Malik made state minister
• Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif continues to expand his cabinet as President Dr Arif Alvi on April 28, 2022 administered the oath of office to Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Senator Dr Musadik Malik as the minister of state.
• With Mr Malik`s addition, the total number of the Sharif-led cabinet has reached 43.
• The oath-taking ceremony was held at the presidency.
• Mr Malik has been allotted the portfolio of petroleum. There is no federal minister for petroleum as there are reports that Mr Sharif wants PML-N`s senior vice president and former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi to oversee both the petroleum and power divisions of the Ministry of Energy