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October 21, 2022: National / International Current Affairs
1. Provinces told not to politicise wheat scheme for flood-hit
• Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on October 20, 2022 urged Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa the provinces ruled by the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and its allies to join Centre`s wheat scheme for flood-hit areas, asking them to rise above politics to provide seeds to affected farmers amid devastating floods.
• Punjab Chief Minister Parvez Elahi, on the other hand, accused the federal government of freezing the wheat quota of the province and refusing to grant permission to the provincial government forthe import of the grain.
• Presiding over a meeting of the National Flood Response and Coordination Centre (NFRCC), the prime minister offered KP and Punjab to collaborate with the federal government under the scheme which will ensure funding for wheat seeds under a `50-50 formula`
2. US Senate sees nothing wrong in F-16 deal
• The US State Department said on October 20, 2022 that the F-16 programme was an important part of the broader United States-Pakistan bilateral relationship, as the US Senate did not object to the proposed $450 million deal with Islamabad.
• `The proposed sale will sustain Pakistan`s capability to meet current and future counterterrorism threats by maintaining its F-16 fleet,` a State Department official told Dawn. The proposed sale would also `ensure Pakistan retains interoperability with the US and partner forces in ongoing counterterrorism efforts and in preparation for future contingency operations,` the US official added.
• The international media reported on Wednesday that the United States was all set to provide $450 million F-16 sustainment package to Pakistan as `there has been no objection to the deal from the Senate within the mandatory 30-day notice period`
3. NA bars members` arrest without speaker`s nod
• The National Assembly on October 20, 2022 made crucial changes to its rules making it mandatory for the authorities concerned to seek prior permission from the speaker to arrest a member of the house, besides empowering him to declare any premises in Islamabad as sub-jail for the detained lawmaker.
• Through another amendment, the house barred the authorities from arresting a member within the precincts of the National Assembly.
• The lower house of parliament, however, abolished the discretionary powers of the speaker or the chairpersons of committees to issue production order for an arrested lawmaker, thus allowing the arrested member to attend every sitting of the house or the committee without any hurdle.
• The amendments, presented by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Murtaza Javed Abbasi, were approved by the lawmakers within minutes and at a time when the house was clearly lacking quorum. For quorum, the house requires the presence of 86 members (one-fourth of its strength of 342)
4. Much-delayed local govt elections in Islamabad on Dec 24: ECP
• The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Thursday announced the schedule of the much-delayed local government elections in the federal capital under which around one million voters will elect their representatives on December 24.
• Elections in Islamabad were long overdue as the last local government Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad (MCI) completed its five-year term in February last year.
• The elections should have been held within four months, but the government and the ECP failed to do the same.
• After the inordinate delay, the ECP has issued the schedule to hold elections in 101 union councils of Islamabad
5. Balochistan PA laments Rs10bn in pending flood aid
• The Balochistan Assembly on October 20, 2022 lamented that a Rs10 billion grant announced by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif for relief and rehabilitation of flood-affected areas of the province had yet to be released and called for setting up a committee to negotiate with Mr Sharif.
• Provincial lawmakers from both sides of the aisle regretted that Balochistan was being ignored when it came to flood relief.
• The assembly session, presided over by Acting Speaker Sardar Babar Khan Musakhail, could not discuss the full agenda because it was postponed for lack of quorum. It had begun an hour late