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July 30, 2022: National / International Current Affairs
1. Sibtain becomes speaker amid allegations of ballot violation
• The ruling coalition in Punjab comfortably won the contest for the Punjab Assembly speaker`s office here on July 29, 2022, though the polling process was marred by allegations of violation of the secret ballot method.
• PTI leader Sibtain Khan secured 185 votes to defeat the opposition PML-N`s Saiful Malook Khokhar, who bagged 175 ballots, while four votes were rejected one for the ruling coalition and three polled for the opposition. The total strength of the provincial house is 371 out of which 364 lawmakers cast their votes.
• Independent MPA Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan as well as three other members did not turn up, while one MPA was recently disqualified by the election commission for holding a fake graduation degree. Two PML-N MPAs had resigned earlier this month
2. Audio released to settle facts of `contested` JCP meeting
• The controversy surrounding developments during July 29, 2022`s closed-door meeting of the Judicial Commission of Pakistan (JCP) deepened further on Friday when Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial relaxed the commission`s rules and ordered the release of over two-hour-long audio recording of the session to public.
• Prompting the release of the recording were the letters issued by two JCP members senior puisne Supreme Court judge Justice Qazi Faez Isa and Justice Sardar Tariq Masood both of whom claimed the meeting had disapproved the nominations of judges, proposed by the CJP, for elevation to the top court.
• But the press release issued by the apex court`s public relations officer on Thursday stated the meeting had been deferred to enable the CJP to place additional information and data about the nominations and add more names to the list for consideration ,if he considered appropriate
3. Indian and Pakistani FMs avoid `bilateral tiffs` at SCO
• Pakistani and Indian foreign ministers on Friday together attended the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation`s (SCO) Council of Foreign Ministers` meeting and events on its margins, but avoided handshakes.
• The SCO meeting was the first multilateral event where Bilawal BhuttoZardari and S. Jaishankar came together since the former became the foreign minister after the change of government in Pakistan in April.
• Even in informal settings, for instance when the foreign ministers of SCO member countries waited for a joint call on Uzbekistan`s President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, the two foreign ministers sat away from each other.
• Relations between the two neighbouring nuclear-armed rivals have been bitter for long. Islamabad had lowered diplomatic ties with New Delhi after the BJP government revoked the autonomous status of Indian held Jammu and Kashmir in 2019
4. Army chief reaches out to US on `matter of economic security`
• The head of Pakistan`s military has reached out to Washington to request help in securing an early disbursement of funds from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), media reports and officials said on July 29, 2022.
• In a dispatch from New York, Nikkei Asia reported that `dwindling foreign reserves` have sparked `a scramble in Islamabad to avoid a default.
• Gen Bajwa`s phone call to US Deputy Secretary of State was part of Pakistan`s efforts to avoid a default, the report added
5. US, Pakistan pressing Taliban to let girls go to school: Blinken
• US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has identified Pakistan as one of the partners the United States has been working with to persuade the Taliban to let girls go back to school.
• On Thursday, Secretary Blinken launched the US-Afghan Consultative Mechanism (USACM), which would enable Afghan citizens to communicate directly with American policymakers.
• Addressing the launching ceremony, the top US diplomat said that besides Pakistan, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, Qatar and Turkey, and others were also backing US efforts to convince the Taliban to reverse their decision to keep Afghan girls out of school