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March 29, 2022: National / International Current Affairs
1. Punjab braces for `change` at the top
• Just minutes after the joint opposition`s no confidence motion was moved in the National Assembly, Prime Minister Imran Khan played his `trump card` by luring PML-Q Punjab president Chaudhry Parvez Elahi to his side with the much sought after Punjab`s chief ministership.
• This single offer has helped PM Khan not only protect his party`s rule in Punjab from his arch-rivals, the PML-N and PPP, but also field the PML-Q to collaborate with other allied parties and disgruntled MNAs to save Imran Khan in the National Assembly.
• Just a day ago, the ruling PTI appeared to be losing the political battle. PM Khan concluded his long speech at the Parade Ground on Sunday, alleging hatching of an international conspiracy against his government and some elements in Pakistan being used against him through foreign funding
2. No-trust resolution against Imran `on the table`
• The capital on Monday witnessed dramatic political events as within an hour of the formal tabling of the no confidence resolution against Prime Minister Imran Khan in the National Assembly by Leader of the Opposition Shehbaz Sharif, the Pakistan Muslim League Quaid (PML-Q) threw its weight behind the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) while the Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) crossed over to the opposition, thus making the political situation more perplexed.
• The decision by the leaders of two major allies of the ruling PTI, however, caused a rift within the parties. PML-Q`s Tariq Bashir Cheema categorically announced his support for the opposition whereas the absence of Zubaida Jalal from a joint press conference of the BAP lawmakers with the opposition leaders was noticed by the reporters who were told by the opposition members that she was unhappy over the leadership`s decision and might vote for Imran Khan in the assembly.
3. Qureshi to leave for China today
• Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi will leave for China on March 29, 2022 (today) where he is expected to meet foreign ministers of other countries, including Russia, Iran and Central Asian states.
• Mr Qureshi will discuss issues like regional peace and economic security and matters related to Afghanistan, the ministry said in a statement issued late on Monday night.
• According to the statement, the minister said Pakistan wanted good relations with all nations, and this also went the other way round, as witnessed by the participation of several countries in a recent meeting of Organisation of Islamic Cooperation`s foreign ministers hosted by Pakistan
4. Pakistan dealt well with Covid: UN
• A UN report released on March 28, 2022 places Pakistan among the countries that have done fairly well in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.
• The analytical report, prepared by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), notes that on March 23, 2022, the cost of vaccinating 40 per cent of the population in Pakistan was 13.95pc of the country`s current health expenditure.
• The UNDP placed this in the green zone of affordability, meaning that the country`s health system can deal with this extra burden. Pakistan`s Covid-19 risk index was 5.3, which was classified as high
5. Biden sticks to suggestion Putin should step down
• US President Joe Biden refused on March 28, 2022 to back down on his weekend declaration in a major speech that Russian leader Vladimir Putin `cannot stay in power` arguing that he was voicing personal `outrage.
• `I`m not walking anything back… I want to make it clear, I wasn`t then, nor am I now, articulating a policy change. I was expressing moral outrage that I feel I make no apologies for my personal feelings,` he told reporters at the White House.
• Biden`s remark delivered in Warsaw at the close of three days of marathon diplomacy on Saturday was seen as a gaffe by Republicans and some independent analysts concerned over a president going off-script when dealing with such a combustible conflict.