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May 06, 2022: National / International Current Affairs
1. Governor calls on army to help end crisis in Punjab
• Despite the armed forces repeatedly refusing to be pushed into the country`s perpetual political quagmire, Punjab Governor Omar Sarfraz Cheema has sought the army`s intervention to lead the province out of the crises plaguing it for months. He has also decided to send a reference against Lahore High Court`s Justice Jawad Hassan to the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) for an `illegal decision` of asking the National Assembly speaker to administer the oath to the then chief minister-elect Hamza Shehbaz.
• On May 5, 2022, the governor wrote a letter to Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, requesting him to play a defining role in the current chaotic times, as he was of the opinion that the constitutional crisis ridden Punjab has been held hostage.
• With the letter, the governor also attached the separate letters he wrote to the president and prime minister the latter sent just before writing to Gen Bajwa. `Both these letters encompass my real anxiety and dilemmas on the constitutional impasse faced by this country, particularly the province of Punjab,` he wrote
2. Pakistan`s standing on freedom index plummets
• Pakistan fell by 12 places on an index of media freedom as US Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned that lack of freedom undermines Pakistan`s image and progress.
• The 2022 freedom index, released this week by a media advocacy group called Reporters Without Borders (RSF), also showed a general decline across South Asia.
• Pakistan was 145th on the 2021 index and fell to 157th on a list of 180 countries in 2022. India fell by eight places to 150th, from last year`s 142nd.
• All South Asian nations performed poorly on the RSF 2022 World Press Freedom Index except Nepal. Sri Lanka is on the 127th position this year, Bangladesh 152nd and Myanmar at 140th. Nepal, however, gained 30 points in the global ranking, moving to the 76th position from last year`s 106th
3. Health ministry dispels varying perceptions about Covid-19 deaths
• The Ministry of National Health Services (NHS) has dispelled the varying general perceptions in the country about the deaths due to Covid-19 pandemic and claimed that its data is accurate and has been verified by the defunct National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) through analysis of graveyard data of major cities.
• While it is generally believed that more people died of Covid-19 in Pakistan than the numbers released by the government, an analysis of graveyards across major cities has not shown the mortality above the official figures, a senior official of the ministry said.
• Similarly, there is a section of people in the country who believe that the previous government had used the pandemic for political objectives and it had always presented exaggerated figures about the number of Covid-19 cases and deaths due to the disease
4. US to work with Pakistan on border security, counterterrorism
• Counterterrorism and border security are the two areas where the United States wants to continue to work with Pakistan, says the US State Department.
• Responding to a question about restoring US security assistance to Pakistan, the department`s spokesperson Ned Price said at a Wednesday news briefing that Washington wanted to continue its cooperation with Islamabad in some areas.
• `We value our bilateral relationship. We want to continue to work together in areas where we do have mutual interests with our Pakistani partners,` he said.
• `That includes counterterrorism. That includes border security as well
5. Hindu majority areas get more seats in held Kashmir
• A new list of redrawn political constituencies was issued for Indian-occupied Kashmir on May 5, 2022, giving greater representation to the Muslim-majority region`s Hindu areas and paving the way for fresh elections, Reuters reported.
• In 2019, Prime Minister Narendra Modi`s government broke up the Indian held territory into two federal territories as part of a move to tighten its grip over the region.
• The occupied region originally comprised the mainly Muslim Kashmir Valley, the Hindu-dominated Jammu region, and the remote Buddhist enclave of Ladakh