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July 15, 2022: National / International Current Affairs
1. Pakistan seals IMF deal as govt eyes $1.18bn tranche to begin recovery
• The International Monetary Fund (IMF) announced a staff-level agreement with Pakistan on July 14, 2022 that will not only help resume the suspended loan programme and pave the way for a $1.18 billion disbursement but is also expected to alleviate Sri Lanka-like default fears at least in the short term and unlock funding from other multilateral lenders like the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank.
• In a statement, the IMF said the agreement which is still subject to its board approval will bring to $4.2bn the amount disbursed under an extended fund facility (EFF) that could increase to $7bn and stretch until June next year.
• The financial lifeline would be crucial for Pakistan`s economy buckling under pressure from a global price shock in the wake of the Russia Ukraine war and declining foreign exchange reserves, among other factors
2. ECP seeks army deployment in five Punjab constituencies
• Reports of presence of armed men in various constituencies of Punjab where by-polls on 20 provincial assembly seats are set to take place on Sunday alarmed the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), prompting it to direct the relevant authorities to take necessary action swiftly.
• Meanwhile, in a late night decision, the commission sought the army`s deployment in five of the 20 constituencies four in Lahore and one in Multan.
• In a letter written to the Punjab chief secretary and the police chief, the ECP said it had come to its notice that armed personnel were present in different constituencies, including Lahore, which was likely to influence and jeopardise the conduct of the upcoming by-elections, besides being a precursor to violence
3. PIA acquires A320 Airbus on six-year dry lease
• As part of its drive to add more aircraft to its fleet, Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) has acquired a second Airbus A320, which flew in from Sharjah, a spokesman for the national carrier said on July 144, 2022.
• With the latest addition, the total number of Airbus A320-built aircraft in the PIA fleet now stands at 14.
• The first aircraft had already arrived in Pakistan on April 29 and is currently in service, the PIA spokesman said, adding that the process of adding new aircraft to the fleet is ongoing.
• He said that PIA had tendered for the acquisition of the aircraft last year, out of which two aircraft have reached Pakistan this year and two more aircraft will reach the country in the next few days
4. Govt delivers its first cut in fuel prices
• Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif announced a per-litre reduction of Rs18 to 40 in fuel prices on July 14, 2022 with immediate effect for the next fortnight, i.e. until July 31.
• In his address to the nation on Thursday, the prime minister said that as promised he was passing on to the people each paisa of price reduction in the international markets and announced a Rs18.50 per litre cut in the price of petrol and Rs40.54 per litre in that of high-speed diesel (HSD).
• Separately, the finance ministry in a statement also announced a per-litre cut of Rs33.81 and Rs34.71 in kerosene and light diesel oil (LDO) prices, respectively. The government did not change the rate of petroleum development levy (PDL) that stood at Rs10 per litre on petrol and Rs5 each on the other three products
5. Russian strikes kill 20 as Zelensky urges `special tribunal` for Moscow
• Russian missiles struck Vinnytsia in central Ukraine on July 14, 2022, killing at least 20 people including three children, in what President Volodymyr Zelensky called `an open act of terrorism`.
• The midday attack on the city hundreds of kilometres from the frontlines and invading Russian troops came as EU officials convened in The Hague to discuss war crimes in Ukraine.
• The charred remains of upturned cars surround by burnt debris were seen in images distributed by officials next to a business gutted by a fire with brown smoke billowing nearby.
• `There were eight rockets, two of which hit the centre of the city