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January 26, 2022: National Current Affairs MCQs
1. Pakistan can buy Russian oil despite restrictions, says US
• The United States has reiterated that Pakistan can purchase oil from Russia at a discounted price even though it has not signed a Washington-backed price cap on Russian petroleum products.
• US State Department`s spokesperson Ned Price told reporters at a January 26, 2023 afternoon news briefing that Pakistan can also take advantage of the concessions Washington has given to other countries for buying oil from Russia.
• `So, we have encouraged countries to take advantage of that, even those countries that have not formally signed on to the price cap, so that they can acquire oil in some cases at a steep discount from what they would otherwise acquire from, in this case, Russia,` Mr Price said.
• On December 3, 2022, G7 and EU countries set a price-cap of $60 per barrel on Russian oil to prevent Moscow from using the revenues to finance its war against Ukraine
2. ECP proposes polls in Punjab, KP between April 9 and 17
• Gearing up for the largest by-polls for 93 general seats of the National Assembly and general elections for the two recently-dissolved provincial assemblies, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has proposed conducting polls for Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa legislatures between April 9 and 17 and sought an additional supplementary grant of over Rs14 billion for the purpose.
• Separately, President Dr Arif Alvi on January 26, 2023 met Punjab Governor Balighur Rehman and asked him to announce a date for elections in the province in the wake of dissolution of the Punjab Assembly.
• In separate letters sent to principal secretaries of the two provinces, copies of which are available with Dawn, the ECP has suggested elections in Punjab between April 9 and 13, and in KP between April 15 and 17.
3. SBP intervention limits rupee`s fall after cap lifted
• The rupee dipped by 1.2 per cent to 243 against the dollar on January 25, 2023 after foreign exchange companies lifted a price cap, which they said caused `artificial` distortions and created a black market, where the US currency was selling at higher rates.
• However, the rupee`s closing value was far higher compared to Rs252.5 in the early open-market trade on Wednesday after central bank`s intervention. On Tuesday, the dollar sold at Rs240.75 in the open market.
• The Exchange Companies Association of Pakistan (ECAP) said on Tuesday it was removing the cap on the currency and would meet State Bank of Pakistan`s (SBP) officials on January 25, 2023.
• `We have decided that we will bring the exchange rate on a par with what we are supplying to the banks against credit cards,` ECAP Secretary General Zafar Paracha said in a statement, adding that the level is 255 to 256 rupees to the dollar
4. UN council to examine Pakistan`s human rights record on 30th
• Pakistan`s human rights record will be examined by the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Working Group of UN Human Rights Council, for the fourth time on Jan 30.
• The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a process which involves a review of the human rights records of all UN Member States.
• Pakistan is one of the States to be reviewed by the UPR working group during its session that will continue till February 3.
• The country`s first, second and third UPR reviews took place in May 2008, October 2012 and November 2017, respectively, according to a Council`s press release
5. Rahdari Gate reopened after three years
• After a gap of almost three years, the Rahdari Gate, which facilitates travel by locals on both sides of Pak-Iran border on a 15-day permit, has been reopened.
• The Rahdari Gate at Taftan, a border town in Chagai district, had been closed by the Iranian authorities soon after the outbreak of coronavirus. However, its closure prolonged for unspecified reasons.
• Despite being discussed at several joint meetings between Pakistani and Iranian officials, it took years to reopen the gate, said Taftan Assistant Commissioner Bilal Shabbir