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May 08, 2022: National / International Current Affairs
1. Govt backs down hours after Peca verdict challenge
• Hours after the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) sought restoration of its `draconian` powers by challenging the Islamabad High Court (IHC) order that scrapped the controversial legislation for making defamation a cognizable and nonbailable offence, the federal government on Saturday announced that the petition stood `withdrawn immediately`.
• The retreat was announced by Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb after the journalists` and media bodies expressed serious concern over the move and demanded immediate withdrawal of the petition.
• The FIA earlier in the day had filed a petition before the Supreme Court to challenge the April 8 order of the IHC that struck down the presidential ordinance on Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act (Peca), particularly Section 20 of Peca Act that criminalised defamation
2. Pakistan `rules out` refugee status for Afghans
• Pakistan has ruled out refugee status for Afghan asylum-seekers but is facilitating their stay and onward journeys to destinations in the West, the Voice of America (VOA) broadcasting service reported on May 7, 2022.
• Another VOA report said that the United States was giving Ukraine 16 Mi-17 helicopters that were meant for Afghanistan.
• Pakistani officials said that since the Taliban takeover, more than 100,000 urban Afghans have arrived in the country on valid visas.
• `They are largely vulnerable Afghans seeking to move to the US and other Western countries under refugee resettlement programmes,` the report added
3. First regular session of `dysfunctional` NA from tomorrow
• The first regular session of the National Assembly after the coalition government under Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif took office last month is set to commence tomorrow (Monday), while Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf faces the challenge of keeping parliament functional after the mass resignations of 123 Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) lawmakers.
• According to an official announcement by the NA Secretariat, President Dr Arif Alvi has summoned the session of the Lower House of parliament at 4pm on Monday under Article 54(1) of the Constitution. The secretariat will issue the agenda for the sitting on May 8, 2022 (today).
• Sources told Dawn that the speaker was likely to start the process of verification of the resignations submitted by PTI MNAs by calling them in his chamber individually or in the form of groups during the current session
4. KKH bridge swept away after Shisper lake outburst
• Hunza`s Hassanabad bridge on the Karakoram Highway (KKH) was swept away on May 7, 2022 by a glacial lake outburst flood (GLOF) from the Shisper glacier.
• The outburst of the ice-dammed lake formed by the surging Shisper glacier also submerged four houses, hundreds of kanals of agricultural land, trees, water supply channels, and two hydropower projects.
• The flooding in Hassanabad nullah as a result of the outburst caused panic in the valley and disconnected road access between central and upper Hunza, leaving thousands of passengers, including tourists, stranded on both sides.
5. Legislation on universal health coverage planned
• The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government is set to table a proposed law in the provincial assembly`s next session to ensure the accessibility of health services to the entire population of the province through a predefined package.
• According to officials, the programme has offered Rs25 billion worth of free treatment to 1.1 million people since 2015 when it was introduced in the province through an executive order.
• They told Dawn that the initiative covered 7.4 million families of the province with each entitled to Rs1 million per year.
• The officials said the proposed law was meant to give legal coverage to the programme and the people continued to receive free health services
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