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February 18, 2022: National / International Current Affairs
1. Opposition tastes defeat as Senate passes Ogra bills
• The opposition in the Senate on February 17, 2022 snatched defeat from the jaws of victory when the government managed to get three bills passed from the upper house of parliament, despite opposition protests.
• Before the two controversial Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) bills, cleared by the concerned Senate standing committee, could be taken up for consideration, the opposition raised technical objections and sought deferment of the bills to allow members to introduce amendments.
• However, Leader of the Opposition in the Senate Yousaf Raza Gilani agreed to cooperate with the treasury after assurances from Science and Technology Minister Shibli Faraz, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Mohammad Khan and Leader of the House Dr Shahzad Waseem that amendments to be moved by the opposition would be entertained
2. Senate committee defers bill to set up varsity in PM House
• A Senate committee on February 17, 2022 deferred the bill of Prime Minister`s Imran Khan`s much trumpeted proposed university in Prime Minister House as it wanted to get a briefing from Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood at the next meeting.
• The Senate Standing Committee on Federal Education and Professional Training briefly discussed the `Pak University of Engineering and Emerging Technology University Bill 2022` for setting up a university in the Prime Minister House. However, the committee decided to defer the bill till the next meeting.
• Before deferring the bill, some members said several existing universities in the country were facing an acute shortage of funds and the government should also look into their issues
3. NA panel okays disputed NAB bills
• The National Assembly`s Standing Committee on Law and Justice on February 17, 2022 approved with a majority vote two controversial bills seeking to amend the National Accountability Ordinance (NAO), 1999, amid opposition`s protest and walkout.
• The opposition members staged a walkout from the committee`s meeting after its chairman, Riaz Fatyana, who belongs to the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), declared that the bills had been passed with a nine-seven vote.
• The opposition members accused the committee`s chairman of putting the bills for voting without completing the discussion on them and after seeing that the treasury members were more in number than the opposition.
• Two opposition members Khawaja Saad Rafique and Rana Sanaullah of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) were not present at the time of voting.
4. ECC okays Rs12.3bn subsidy for urea imports
• The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet on February 17, 2022 approved expanding the Kamyab Pakistan Programme (KPP) throughout the country and also cleared a Rs18 billion supplementary grant for Local Bodies` elections.
• The meeting of the ECC presided over by Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin also approved Rs12.345bn subsidy for import of about 100,000 tonnes of fertiliser to be sharedona50:50basisbythefederalandthe provincial governments.
• The ECC approved a summary presented by the Ministry of Industries and Production regarding uninterrupted supply of oxygen gas in the country for medical purposes and approved duty and tax exemption to products and goods i.e oxygen gas, oxygen gas cylinder and cryogenic oxygen tanks for the health sector up to June to cope with the fifth wave of Covid in the country
5. Pakistan finally owns woman languishing in Indian jail
• Pakistan has finally issued a citizenship certificate for Sumaira, a woman languishing in an Indian detention centre, paving way for her return to Pakistan with her daughter soon.
• Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed announced on February 17, 2022 that his ministry had issued a citizenship certificate for Sumaira, who is languishing in a detention centre in the Indian city of Bangalore, after verification of her family tree by the National Database and Regulatory Authority (Nadra).
• He said the certificate had been sent to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Pakistan`s High Commission in New Delhi would issue a travel document to her, allowing her to return to Pakistan along with her four-year-old daughter