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March 15, 2022: National / International Current Affairs
1. Rs8.3bn Ramazan package likely to be okayed today
• The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet is expected to allow on March 15, 2022 (today) the signing of $232 million worth of debt relief pacts with 10 members of the G20 countries and Rs8.3 billion worth of Ramazan relief package.
• To be presided over by Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin, the ECC meeting will take up a seven-point agenda, including the approval of a letter of comfort and re-issuance of an existing bank guarantee to Faysal Bank Ltd for a new financing agreement for Pipeline Infrastructure Development Project LNG-II.
• Although not on the agenda, the ECC may also take up a summary on the creation of a revolving fund for payments to Chinese independent power producers (IPPs).
• The meeting is also expected to approve a supplementary grant of Rs3.5bn for the launch of the Pak University of Engineering and Emerging Technologies (PUEET) in Prime Minister House
2. FM takes up India`s missile issue with UN chief
• Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on March 14, 2022 spoke to United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres and exchanged views with him on current regional and global issues, particularly the blatant violation of Pakistan`s airspace by `accidental` firing of a missile by India on March 9.
• The foreign minister briefed the UN secretary general over the phone on the so called `accidental` fire of a missile that he said reflected India`s disregard for aviation safety as well as regional peace and stability. Pakistan continued to act with restraint and responsibility, Mr Qureshi said.
• Noting multiple shortcomings and technical lapses of a serious nature in India`s management of strategic weapons, the FM said the incident was consistent with India`s irresponsible conduct and needed to be addressed by the international community, including the UN Security Council, and underscored Pakistan`s demand for a joint probe into the incident
3. US, China call for direct Pakistan-India talks
• The United States and China urged India and Pakistan on March 14, 2022 to hold direct talks for reducing tensions between the two nuclear-armed nations.
• `We continue to support direct dialogue between India and Pakistan on issues of concern,` said a US State Department official when asked if the United States would urge India and Pakistan to hold direct talks on the recent missile incident and other issues. Earlier on Monday, a spokesperson for China`s Foreign Ministry supported Pakistan`s demand for a joint probe into the incident and emphasised the need for direct talks between the two neighbours on all issues.
• `We called on relevant countries to have dialogue and communication as soon as possible and launch a thorough investigation into this incident,` spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters in Beijing
4. Punjab Culture Day celebrated with a flurry of events
• Cultural institutionson March 14, 2022 celebrated Punjab Culture Day with great fervour and zest. There were talks, discussions, music dance performances, display of traditional art and craft and celebration of rich culture of Punjab through the recitation of Sufi poetry.
• The Punjab Institute of Art and Culture (Pilac) organised a Punjab Cultural Conference, where a session dedicated to `Punjab Di Tareekh` discussed the need to promote Punjabi without taking it as the language of the oppressed and the downtrodden.
5. Clause for filming child abusers` execution removed from KP bill
• The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has removed a controversial clause about the audio-visual recording of the execution of child sexual abuse offenders from the amended KP Child Protection and Welfare (Amendment) Bill, 2022, which was tabled in the provincial assembly on March 14, 2022.
• The bill seeking enhancement in child-related offences, including sexual abuse, pornography and dealing with organs, has been pending for more than two years.
• The amended bill suggests drastic changes to the law and landed in the assembly in the aftermath of the growing incidents of child abuse, rape and murder in the province.
• It was finalised after lengthy discussion and deliberation among stakeholders.