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February 21, 2022: National / International Current Affairs
1. Defamation amendment goes against decisions of courts
• The Prevention of Electronic Crimes (Amendment) Act Ordinance 2022, promulgated by President Arif Alvi, is likely to open floodgates of cases against `controversial` social media content, as it has not only made online defamation a non-bailable, cognisable offence but also broadened the ambit of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA).
• The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government has promulgated the ordinance at a time when the legality of Peca`s Section 20 that criminalises defamation is already under examination before the Islamabad High Court.
• The law has rendered the recent jurisprudence of the superior courts irrelevant that was evolved in the cases registered against journalists and bloggers on the complaints of people other than the aggrieved persons, as the IHC had made it clear that nobody except the `aggrieved person` could file a complaint against defamation, but after the promulgation of the ordinance any person or institution, not necessarily the aggrieved person, could file a defamation case
2. Income of govt hospitals from free treatment scheme increases
• Revenue of the public sector hospitals from Social Health Protection Initiative has increased following enforcement of the formula under which the staff gets share in the money received from the admitted patients on Sehat Card Plus.
• In 2018-19, the government hospitals got 11 per cent of the total amount spent on the treatment of the patients in the province under the progarmme.
• The private hospitals received 89 per cent of the amount while in 2019-20 the revenue of the state-owned health institutions from the programme rose to 27 per cent. The government hospitals have been able to increase their share in the funds to 32 per cent this year so f ar.
3. Govt sets target to plant 540m trees in spring
• A target has been set to plant 540 million trees throughout the country during spring this year, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam said on Sunday.
• Talking to journalists, Mr Aslam said a strategy for launching a nation-wide spring tree plantation campaign had been formulated in consultation with all provincial forest departments. Prime Minister Imran Khan is expected to kick start the spring tree plantation campaign on Tuesday (tomorrow).
• `We have set a whopping target of planting over 540 million saplings all over the country during the spring season spread over February to April under PM Imran Khan`s Ten Billion Tree Tsunami Programme (TBTTP), the PM`s aide said, adding that 750,000 members of the Pakistan Boy Scout Association (PBSA) will join the plantation campaign
4. Soldier martyred, five terrorists killed in North Waziristan
• Security forces gunned down five terrorists during an intelligence-based operation in North Waziristan tribal district, where one soldier embraced martyrdom, said the army`s media department on February 20, 2022.
• In a statement, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said the security forces conducted the operation after receiving reports about presence of terrorists in the area and subsequently killed the five terrorists. Also, one soldier embraced martyrdom during an intense exchange of fire with the terrorists.
• The gunfight between security forces and terrorists took place amid media reports about resumption of peace talks with proscribed militant outfits and release of militants from de-radicalisation centres
5. UAE conference concerned over rising drone attacks
• The UAE and its allies warned on February 20, 2022 of the rising threat of drone attacks, as Middle East militants rapidly acquire a taste for the cheap and easily accessible unmanned systems.
• But while the countries called for a collective effort to protect airspaces against the small and often hard to detect targets, one question remained: how to easily stop a drone attack? `We have to unite to prevent the use of drones from threatening civilian safety and destroying economic institutions,` Mohammed bin Ahmed al-Bowardi, United Arab Emirates` Minister of State for Defence Affairs, said at a defence conference in Abu Dhabi.
• The Unmanned Systems Exhibition (UMEX), running until Wednesday, began in the UAE capital with regional and Western military and industry representatives, including from the United States, Britain and France