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July 19, 2022: National / International Current Affairs
1. Barrick Gold seeks legal cover for Reko Diq deal
• Canadian mining firm Barrick Gold Corporation expects Pakistani parliament and the Supreme Court to sanctify its $6 billion out-of-court settlement on international arbitration to pave the way for $7bn investment in Reko Dig copper and gold project development in Balochistan.
• `For stability of agreement, it is important that the Supreme Court of Pakistan review it [settlement] and parliament endorse it through legislation,` said Mark Bristow, the president and chief executive officer of Barrick Gold Corporation, at a news conference here on Monday after a meeting with Finance Minister Miftah Ismail.
• Mr Bristow argued the legal protection for Barrick was not Reko Dig specific only, but also a kind of security for future investment in the mining sector. He said the apex court`s review and parliament`s endorsement got delayed due to a change in government, but all stakeholders were working on that to move forward
2. IMF pact `credit positive` for Pakistan, says Moody`s
• Moody`s Investors Service on July 18, 2022 termed the staff level agreement (SLA) signed by Pakistan with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for the revival of its programme as `credit positive` and hope d it would ease pressure on declining foreign exchange reserves.
• But the credit rating agency wondered whether the government could afford to keep raising petroleum taxes and electricity tariffs in the run-up to the 2023generalelecdons.
• `The agreement is credit positive for Pakistan because it paves the way for the release of $1.2 billion in IMF financing at a time when its foreign exchange reserves are under significant pressure`, said Moody`s. This is likely to unlock additional funding from other multilateral and bilateral partners
3. Pakistanis remit record $31.2bn
• Pakistan received record remittances of over $31 billion in the financial year 2021-22 (FY22), an increase of 6.1 per cent over FY21, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) reported on July 18, 2022.
• The central bank said remittances in June FY22 were 18.4pc higher than the previous month, showing an increasing trend. However, remittances in June were only 2pc higher than in the same month in FY21.
• Overseas Pakistanis sent $2.761bn in June FY22 compared to Rs2.332bn in May, showing an increase of $429 million. Despite serious problems on the external account caused by rising trade and current account deficits, overseas Pakistanis maintained their confidence as a show of solidarity with their country.
• The country has been receiving more remittances than it has been exporting. However, FY22 witnessed that the exports and remittances were almost at the same position with slight differences in the amount. The country received total remittances of $31.761bn
4. Joint sitting of parliament put off till Aug 22
• National Assembly Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf on July 18, 2022 put off the joint sitting of parliament scheduled to be held on July 20 (Wednesday) for unknown reasons.
• The joint sitting will now be held on August 22, according to an official announcement by the National Assembly Secretariat.
• `In exercise of powers conferred by proviso to Rule 4 of the Parliament (Joint Sittings) Rules 1973, the speaker has been pleased to call a joint sitting on August 22,2022, at 4pm, instead of Wednesday, July 20, 2022, according to the circular.
5. Yasin Malik to go on hunger strike
• Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chairman Yasin Malik has decided to undergo an indefinite hunger strike from July 22 in New Delhi`s Tihar Jail.
• This was stated in a press release issued by his special representative and JKLF chief spokesperson Rafiq Dar following a meeting of the organisation`s supreme council on Monday.
• Mr Malik has been lodged by the Indian government in solitary confinement since May 2019, following denial of a fair trial and his physical presence in the court in connection with some fake cases.
• According to the spokesperson, Mr Malik had actually decided to start the hunger strike from July 12 a day before the last virtual court hearing but had deferred it until July 22 on the request of Tihar jail authorities who wanted to get some time to take up his demands with their higher authorities and the government