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February 23, 2022: National Current Affairs MCQs
1. Belt-tightening ordered to avert economic storm
• Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has asked his ministers and advisers to forego their salaries, benefits and luxury cars and ny economy class as part of an austerity drive aimed at saving the government Rs200 billion a year.
• The belt-tightening comes as the government is trying to resume a stalled loan programme of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to secure funds worth $1 billion. The premier said an agreement with the Fund was in its final stages.
• The expenditure cuts are part of an effort to stave off an economic meltdown as the country is facing a balance-of-payments crisis, State Bank`s foreign exchange reserves have fallen below a three week import cover, and inflation remains consistently high.
2. SC to determine who has authority to announce poll date
• Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial on February 22, 2023 initiated a suo motu proceeding to determine who has the constitutional responsibility and authority to announce the date for election to a provincial assembly after it was dissolved in different situations, under the Constitution.
• Keeping in view the importance of the matter, the CJP set up a nine-judge Supreme Court bench to consider, among other questions, how and when was the constitutional responsibility of holding elections be discharged and what were the constitutional responsibilities and duties of the federation and the provinces with regard to holding of general elections? The bench, headed by CJP Bandial, will consist of Justice Ijaz ul Ahsan, Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah, Justice Munib Akhtar, Justice Yahya Afridi, Justice Sayyed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi, Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail, Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar and Justice Athar Minallah. The case will be taken up on Thursday (today) at 2pm
3. China okays $700m for Pakistan, says Dar
• Soon after the completion of all prior conditions set by the International Monetary Fund for the revival of the $7bn bailout programme, Finance Minister announced that the Board of China Development Bank (CDB) on February 22, 2023 approved a $700 million credit facility for Pakistan hoping inflows from other multilateral lenders and friendly countries.
• Mr Dar said the amount expected to be received this week will shore up the State Bank of Pakistan`s (SBP) foreign exchange reserves which have dwindled to $3bn, not sufficient to even cover three weeks of controlled imports.
• Pakistan is required to build its forex reserves to a minimum of $10bn to cover the import bill of two months. Pakistan expects inflows from China, Saudi Arabia and UAE soon after the signing of the staff level agreement
4. Zelensky calls Alvi to seek support for UN move
• Ahead of a UN General Assembly vote on Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelensky called President Arif Alvi on February 22, 2023 and sought Pakistan`s support for a draft resolution that calls for ending the war in his country.
• The two leaders also discussed energy and food security issues.
• The General Assembly met in New York to consider a resolution calling for `a just lasting peace` in the region. Ukraine opened the debate on Wednesday afternoon, followed by Belarus and Russia
5. Kabul willing to help address TTP sanctuaries issue
• The Afghan Taliban on February 22, 2023 promised to cooperate with the Pakistan government on its concerns about the presence of the outlawed Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) fighters and sanctuaries on its soil after Islamabad delivered a stark warning on the issue.
• The Foreign Office in a statement issued after a day-long trip by a delegation led by Defence Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif to Kabul said growing TTP and IS-K threat was discussed and `the two sides agreed to collaborate to effectively address the threat of terrorism`