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October 20, 2022: National / International Current Affairs
1. Pakistan needs `huge sums of money`, not rescheduling: PM
• Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has said Pakistan needed billions of dollars for rebuilding climate-resilient infrastructure in the aftermath of floods which left over 33 million people without shelter and inundated southern parts of the country. `We are not asking for any kind of measure [such as] a rescheduling or a moratorium,` PM Sharif was quoted by the Financial Times.
• `We are asking for additional funds,` the PM said in his remarks which contradicted his Finance Minister Ishaq Dar`s plan to seek rescheduling of loans. On Oct 15, Mr Dar said Pakistan would seek rescheduling of some $27 billion worth of non-Paris Club debt largely owed to China, but will not pursue haircuts as part of any restructuring. According to the Financial Times, PM Sharif said Islamabad was not trying to reschedule its external debt, worth about $130bn, but it did need `huge sums of money` for `mega undertakings` such as rebuilding roads, bridges, and other infrastructure.
• `There is a gap and a very serious gap which is widening by the day between our demands and what we have received, PM Sharif was quoted as saying
2. UN chief slams India over human rights record
• UN chief Antonio Guterres chided India during a visit on October 19, 2022 over its human rights record, which critics say has regressed under Hindu nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
• Since Modi came to power in 2014 in the Hindu majority nation of 1.4 billion, campaigners say persecution and hate speech have accelerated against religious minorities, especially for India`s 200-millionstrong Muslim minority.
• This is particularly the case in India-held Kashmir since the Modi government had in 2019 imposed direct rule on the Muslim-majority region where it has half a million troops stationed, activists say.
• Pressure has also grown towards government critics and journalists, particularly women reporters some have suffered relentless campaigns of online abuse, including death and rape threats
3. Punjab launches first dementia plan with WHO help
• With around 400,000 dementia patients in Pakistan and counting, the Punjab government in collaboration with the World Health Organisation (WHO) has launched the first Punjab Dementia Plan to initiate transformation towards ensuring comprehensive dementia services at all stages.
• Dementia is one of the grave health challenges of this generation and seventh leading cause of death globally.
• In Pakistan, it is estimated the percentage of projected increase in the number of these cases is to be 261 per cent, which will carry huge social and economic cost to the community and the government.
• The Punjab Dementia Plan was launched by Parvez Elahi after Health Minister Dr Yasmin Rashid gave a briefing and presented the dementia plan book to him at chief minister`s office on October 20, 2022.
4. NADRA launches App enabling citizens to access data faster
• In yet another step towards making operations in Pakistan digital, the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) on October 19, 2022 launched a mobile application `Rahbar` which would not only enable citizens across the country to find the nearest NADRA Service Centre but offer much more through a simple click.
• Nadra Chairman Tariq Malik, while announcing the citizen-centric mobile application, said: `Citizen`s residing inside Pakistan were unable to know about the location of the Nadra centre that best suits their vicinity. With Rahbar, the citizens can now make a wellinformed decision about visiting any Nadra centre, keeping in view the location, distance, number of applicants-in-waiting, and average processing time through their mobile phones.
• He said such initiatives were aimed at converting Nadra offices to citizen service centres rather than only registration centres, adding that the application will ensure that citizens are facilitated to the max
5. Terror attacks in Pakistan surge by 51pc after Afghan Taliban victory
• Pakistan witnessed a record 51pc increase in the number of terrorist attacks in a single year after the Afghan Taliban came to power in Afghanistan in August last year as a result of the withdrawal of the US forces.
• As many as 433 people were killed and 719 injured in 250 attacks in Pakistan between August 15, 2021, and August 14, 2022, Islamabad-based think tank, Pak Institute of Peace Studies (Pips) data revealed.
• In comparison, it said, the country witnessed 165 attacks that killed 294 people and injured 598 others from August 2020 to August 14, 2021.
• These were some of the findings shared in the fifth issue of Pips` Paper Series released on October 19, 2022