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May 20, 2022: National / International Current Affairs
1. Officers probing high-profile cases can`t be changed
• The Supreme Court on May 19, 2022 restrained the relevant authorities from transfers, postings or removals of those involved in the investigation or prosecution of high-profile cases against top government functionaries pending in the courts of special judge (central) and the accountability courts.
• Headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial, the larger bench also ordered that no prosecution case will be withdrawn against the top government officials until the next date of hearing.
• The bench, also consisting of Justice Ijazul Ahsan, Justice Munib Alchtar, Justice Sayyed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi and Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar, had taken suo-motu notice on apprehensions of undermining criminal justice system
2. Yasin Malik convicted in terror funding case
• Amid unending assault on Kashmiri parties and resistance groups that began with the dismantling of the disputed state of Jammu and Kashmir in August 2019, a special court on May 19, 2022 convicted JKLF leader Yasin Malik in a terror funding case. The sentence is expected to be handed next week.
• Reports said Special Judge Praveen Singh directed the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to assess Mr Malik`s financial situation to determine the amount of fine to be imposed and posted the matter for arguments on the quantum of sentence on May 25.
• Reports quoted Mr Malik as telling the court that he was not contesting the charges levelled against him that included Sections 16 (Terrorist Act), 17 (raising funds for terrorist act), 18 (conspiracy to commit terrorist act) and 20 (being member of terrorist gang or organisation) of the UAPA and Sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy) and 124-A (sedition) of the Indian Penal Code
3. In US, Bilawal defends Imran`s Moscow visit
• Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari on May 19, 2022 strongly defended Imran Khan`s Moscow visit, saying there was no way for the former prime minister to know that Russia would invade Ukraine on the day he landed in the Russian capital.
• The foreign minister made these remarks during a news briefing at the UN headquarters when a journalist drew his attention to Mr Khan`s Feb 24 visit to Moscow and asked how the new government was going to rectify the `mistakes` of its predecessors.
• `As far the former prime minister`s trip to Russia, I would absolutely defend the former prime minister of Pakistan. He conducted that trip as part of his foreign policy and without knowing that no one is psychic, no one has a sixth sense there`s no way we could have possibly known that that would be the time [when] the current conflict will start,` Mr Bhutto-Zardarisaid.`And I believe it is very unfair to punish Pakistan for such an innocent action
4. Drones to be used for traffic control on motorways, highways
• The National Highways & Motorways Police (NH&MP) is undertaking new initiatives to reduce dependency on human intervention and will use drones on all motorways and highways for traffic control and to meet any emergency.
• According to the Ministry of Communications, police will use technologies like variable messaging signs, body-worn cameras, and intuitive automations that streamline processes for commuters.
• The public service management system, which is already in place on M-2 and M-3, will also be replicated on all motorways, said an officer of the ministry.
• Similarly, a stricter regime to ensure enforcement will be put in place by manning all toll plazas. `Drones will be deployed for enforcement, surveillance and mitigating fencing issues,` the official said
5. Direct PIA flights for Damascus from 28th
• The Pakistan International Airlines on May 19, 2022 announced starting direct flights to Syria`s capital Damascus, saying first such flight will leave Karachi on May 28.
• `The national flag carrier will launch the Damascus operation on the special instructions of Aviation Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique, the PIA spokesman said. The Damascus operation is being launched on the demand of pilgrims, he said, adding that direct nights would provide the passengers with better and more comfortable facilities. Shrines of Hazrat Zainab, the granddaughter of Holy Prophet (PBUH), and Hazrat Sakina, the daughter of Imam Hussain, are situated in the Syrian capital and thousands of pilgrims from across the world visit these places each year to pay their respects.
• The spokesman said that initiallya weekly flight would be operated and the number of flights would be gradually increased