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July 04, 2022: National / International Current Affairs
1. Pakistan seeks Qatar gas on deferred payment
• Amid severe energy crunch and unprecedentedly expensive fuel imports, Pakistan is seeking more gas imports on deferred payments from Qatar, which is irritated by roadblocks to its infrastructure investment plans, particularly in import terminals.
• Authorities in Islamabad are engaging with Qatar at different levels to ramp up Liquefied Natural Gas(LNG) supplies to Pakistan to make up for shortage of four to five cargoes (about 400-500 million cubic feet of gas per day) every month.
• At almost every engagement, the other side wants to hear an update on the removal of hitches to its plans to set up a merchant LNG terminal near Karachi.
• The government has failed in last three attempts over the past couple of weeks to secure even a single cargo for July from the spot market as whatever quantities are available in the spot or otherwise are herded by the Unites States towards Europe suffering energy shortages amid the Russia Ukraine war and ready to pick every molecule at any cost
2. Visitors from Washington look to rejuvenate ties after lull
• The bilateral relationship between Pakistan and the United States is regaining momentum following the `Cablegate` hiccup, with both sides engaging far more frequently now than in the recent past.
• The two sides have, in the recent engagements, agreed on making their relationship broad-based one that looks beyond the traditional areas of security, strategic concerns and Afghanistan.
• It was towards this goal that both sides held working-level meetings on law enforcement and economy this past week. A meeting on the health sector is also scheduled to take place soon
3. Low testing skews data as Covid fatigue sets in
• As the Covid-19 positivity rate hits insane levels in some cities, government officials blame a decline in testing for skewed figures.
• They believe that both citizens and the health authorities have started taking the pandemic `as a normal disease` thanks to pandemic fatigue, an expected and natural response to a prolonged public health crisis.
• Official data released on Sunday showed that Pakistan logged 650 Covid cases over the last 24 hours, lower than the 818 infections recorded a day earlier.
• The countrywide positivity ratio, at 3.88 per cent, was also down from 4.47pc a day ago. According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), 16,755 tests were conducted during the last 24 hours
4. Meeting on security, TTP tomorrow
• National Assembly Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf has called a meeting of the parliamentary committee on national security on Tuesday (tomorrow) to discuss issues of national security, including talks with the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).
• According to a press release issued by the National Assembly Secretariat on Sunday, the meeting to be chaired by the speaker will be attended by members of the National Assembly and Senate, the president and prime minister of Azad Kashmir, chief minister of Gilgit-Baltistan and chief secretaries of all the four provinces
5. Bungalow Babusar Track opened for tourists
• An old route to Gilgit-Baltistan, Bungalow Babusar Track, near Babusar Top in Diamer district has been opened for tourists.
• The 3km track was the historical route between River Kunhar and River Indus and it remained for years the only jeep route to connect GB with the rest of the country till 1960s.
• After rehabilitation and improvement, the track was opened for tourists on Sunday.
• Deputy Commissioner of Diamer Fayyaz Ahmed inaugurated the track during a ceremony which was attended by officials of the district administration and local people