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February 08, 2022: National / International Current Affairs
1. Chinese investors exempted from project approvals
• In a major shift from the investment regime, Pakistan has decided to exempt Chinese investors from about 37 approvals for investment projects, besides completing prior actions like payments of dues to power producers and creating a revolving fund for future interest payments to the existing investors to perk up investments in phase-II of the multi-billion-dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPE C).
• This was the crux of `the highest-level communication` Prime Minister Imran Khan had with the Chinese political and business leadership during his four-day visit to Beijing on the eve of Winter Olympics 2022, according to Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on CPEC Khalid Mansoor.
2. 19 killed in avalanche on Afghan-Pakistan border
• At least 19 people were killed by an avalanche on February 7, 2022 while crossing a remote mountain pass from Afghanistan to Pakistan, a Taliban official said.
• Scores of Afghans cross illegally to Pakistan every day through the porous mountain border in search of jobs or to buy essential goods for trade.
• Najibullah Hassan Abdal, head of information for Kunar province, said rescue workers were still searching at the scene of the avalanche.
• `Nineteen bodies have been recovered already,` he said
3. Afghan humanitarian crisis to affect Pakistan, warn senators
• Senators from both sides of the aisle have warned that a humanitarian crisis is brewing in Afghanistan that could have serious ramifications for Pakistan`s national security.
• Speaking on a motion seeking to discuss the rapidly developing humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan and Pakistan`s role in averting it, moved by Senator Mushtaq Ahmad of the Jamaat-i-Islami on February 7, 2022, the senators called for urgent steps to alleviate the sufferings of the Afghan people.
• Former Senate chairman and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) stalwart Mian Raza Rabbani in his speech noted that Pakistan would be affected the most by a humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan and it would have an impact on the country`s national security
4. Peshawar High Court issues notices over withdrawal of EPZ tax exemptions
• The Peshawar High Court on Monday stopped the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) from levying sales tax under the recently passed Finance (Supplementary) Act, 2022, on the imports of an industrial unit situated in an export processing zone (EPZ).
• A bench consisting of Justice Ijaz Anwar and Justice Syed Arshad Ali fixed March 22 for the next hearing into a petition of the Ameen and Brothers Enterprise against the withdrawal of exemptions from the levy of sales tax on imports and exports of items by units situated in the EPZs.
• The petitioner requested the court to declare illegal the Finance (Supplementary) Act 2022`s Section 3`s sub-section 8 (a) (i) through which Entry No. 102 of the Sixth Schedule of the Sales Tax Act, 1990, had been removed.
5. US counts Pakistan among lowest Covid-risk countries
• The main US health agency continues to place Pakistan among the countries where the chances of catching Covid-19 are low.
• In its latest update on the pandemic, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) placed Pakistan in level-1, which is its lowest category for getting infected by a disease. The agency places India in level-3, which includes countries where the chances of catching Covid-19 are high. Another South Asian country, Bangladesh, is in level-2 with a moderate risk of infection.
• Countries like China, Brazil, Anguilla, Kosovo, Mexico and a dozen others are in level-4 where the chances of infections are very high