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May 27, 2022: National / International Current Affairs
1. Bills to scrap EVM, clip NAB wings sail through NA
• The National Assembly on May 26, 2022 passed two crucial bills seeking to reverse the controversial changes made in the election laws by the previous Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government regarding the use of electronic voting machines (EVMs) and i-voting for overseas Pakistanis and clipping the vast powers of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).
• The government presented the two bills in the lower house of parliament amid talks about the possibility of early elections in the country and hours after PTI chairman Imran Khan abruptly ended his long march by giving a six-day deadline to the government to announce the election date.
• Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif remained present in the house during the passage of the Elections (Amendment) Bill 2022 and the NAB (Second Amendment) Bill 2021 presented by Parliamentary Af fairs Minister Murtaza Javed Abbasi and Law Minister Azam Nazeer Tarar, respectively
2. New govt pays big price to placate IMF
• In a move towards placating the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for an economic bailout, the government on May 26, 2022 increased, with immediate effect, the prices of all petroleum products by Rs30 per litre to reduce fuel subsidies.
• Speaking at a hurriedly called news conference, Finance Minister Miftah Ismail, who remained on the move between the Ministry of Finance and the Prime Minister Office soon after his return from Doha, said the government had no other option to stop the country from drifting towards a bad situation.
• This is the highest-ever increase in the prices of all petroleum products in one go.
• An official said this was the first step towards convincing the IMF to release the next tranche at the earliest.
3. Six Pakistani peacekeepers awarded medals of courage
• Six Pakistanis were among 117 UN peacekeepers who were awarded UN medals of courage on May 26, 2022 for sacrificing their lives for the cause of peace.
• Five of the six Tahir Ikram, Tahir Mehmood, Mohammed Naeem, Adil Jan and Mohammed Shafiq were from the armed forces, while the sixth, Ibrar Syed, was a civilian.
• At the UN Headquarters, Secretary-General António Guterres laid a wreath to honour the nearly 4,200 United Nations peacekeepers who have lost their lives since 1948. And later, he presided over a ceremony at which the Dag Hammarskjöld Medals of Courage were awarded posthumously to 117 military, police and civilian peacekeepers, including six Pakistanis, who lost their lives serving under the United Nations flag in 2021
4. General election to cost exchequer Rs47bn, NA told
• Amid ongoing talks for early elections in the country, the government on May 26, 2022 informed the National Assembly that the next general elections would cost the national exchequer over Rs47 billion, more than twice the 2018 polls cost.
• A major chunk from the election budget Rs15bn will go to law enforcement agencies for deployment of troops to ensure security during the polling days. In the July 2018 elections, the finance ministry paid Rs9bn to the army to provide security for the exercise.
• The government was responding to a question from MNA Sheikh Rohale Asghar who asked for a head-wise count of total expenditures to be incurred by the government in the next elections
5. Profits outflow reaches $1.5bn in 10 months
• Despite the political crisis which affected all segments of life including business, the outflow of profits and dividends on foreign investments increased during the first 10 months of the current fiscal year.
• The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) latest report issued on Thursday revealed that the outflow of profits and dividends increased by 11.5 per cent, or $152 million, to $1.464 billion during the July-April period from $1.312bn in the same period last year.
• The higher outflows indicate better performance of the economy, which is expected to expand at 5.97pc in the outgoing fiscal year.
• The financial business (banks) recorded the highest outflow of profit and dividends at $251.5m in 10MFY22 against $309m in the same period of FY21