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September 23, 2022: National / International Current Affairs
1. UN to hold donors` conference: PM
• UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has told Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif that he plans to hold a donors` conference either in New York or somewhere in Europe to raise funds for Pakistan`s flood victims.
• The prime minister disclosed this while talking to media at a Pakistan sponsored exhibition of pictures from the date of the proposed donors` conference had not yet been finalised, `it will be held soon`.
• On Aug 30, the United Nations and Pakistan appealed for $160 million in emergency funding for the flood victims but earlier this month, UN officials disclosed that so far they received only one fourth of that amount
2. Tactics behind pro-India Twitter drive against Pak Army revealed
• A pro-Indian army covert Twitter influence operation, suspended earlier this year by the social network, had been spreading propaganda against the Pakistan Army and attempting to highlight the Indian military`s purported successes in India held Kashmir, a Stanford University study has shown.
• `#ISPR has raised an #astonishing network of 4000-strong highly qualified #Information Warfare specialists during the past decade through a carefully crafted internship program that is directly run by #ISI, the Stanford Internet Observatory research quotes one of the accounts as saying.
• In a paper titled `My Heart Belongs to Kashmir: An Analysis of a Pro-Indian Army Covert Influence Operation on Twitter` released on Wednesday, the Stanford Internet Observatory revealed the tactics the network employed, the narratives it was promoting and the possible links the network had to the Chinar Corps a branch of the Indian army that operates in occupied Kashmir
3. Govt sees growth rate falling to 2pc amid floods
• Pakistan on September 22, 2022 saw its economic growth rate falling massively to two per cent during the current fiscal year against the budgetary target of 5pc as floods have plunged the country into crisis, particularly in Sindh and Balochistan.
• The official estimate for a revised GDP growth rate at 2pc is in sharp contrast to the 3.5pc growth rate forecast by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) a day earlier on Wednesday. The State Bank of Pakistan had earlier projected 2.4pc growth rate, while the government had been estimating a 2.2 to 2.3pc growth rate for the current year.
• As a consequence, Pakistan would need to have `continuous and constant engagement` with the development partners, lenders and donors to meet the financing needs of rehabilitation and reconstruction, including through access to special international financial instruments meant for climate change and green economy, Planning and Development Secretary Syed Zafar Ali Shah said.
• Briefing journalists on Thursday, he said the ADB had finalised about $1.5bn support to Pakistan under counter-cyclical programmes earlier planned for postCovid recovery and the government had desired this to be sof t financing at around 2pc interest instead of ordinary capital resources (OCR) that attract about 3.15pc interest
4. Pakistan, Iraq agree to start ferry service between Karachi and Basra
• Pakistan and Iraq have agreed to start a ferry service between Basra and Karachi to help Pakistani zaireen (pilgrims) visiting Iraq.
• The agreement was reached during a meeting between Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah and Iraqi Ambassador Hamid Abbas Lafta here on September 22, 2022.
• They agreed to sign the Pakistan Iraq pilgrim agreement this year and allocate visa quota for Pakistani pilgrims going to Iraq.
• Speaking on the occasion, the interior minister thanked the Iraqi government for issuing visas to 60,000 Pakistani pilgrims f or Arbaeen (Chehlum) of Hazrat Imam Hussain this year
5. Paracetamol subsidy to help flood-hit people
• The federal government has decided to provide a subsidy to the manufacturers of paracetamol drug as the demand for the painkiller witnessed a significant spike amid floods in the country, resulting in the outbreak of waterborne diseases, particularly dengue and diarrhoea, in flood-hit regions.
• Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif shared this development during a Zoom meeting of the authorities concerned to review the pace of various flood relief and rehabilitation activities. The premier told the meeting about the government`s decision to provide subsidies to the manufacturers of paracetamol so that they could become available at affordable prices.
• Pakistan is facing a shortage of the over-the-counter medicine amid a tiff between the government and the pharma industry over the pricing mechanism. Last month, the government rejected a summary seeking an increase in the drug`s price