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March 18, 2022: National Current Affairs MCQs
1. Polio-free Pakistan `evasive dream` as first case of 2023 reported
• Pakistan has reported its first polio case of 2023 after a three-year-old boy in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa`s Bannu district became the latest victim of the crippling disease, the health ministry confirmed on March 17, 2023.
• The case has been reported at a time when delegations of the French Agency for Development (FAD) and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) are in the country to analyse efforts to eradicate the disease.
• According to a statement issued by the health ministry on Friday, the FAD and BMGF delegations met the federal health minister to discuss avenues for cooperation in social protection and health, with a focus on polio eradication.
• The head of the National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) for Polio, Dr Shahzad Baig, said an investigation is ongoing to identify whether the child received the vaccination or the parents refused vaccination
2. Pakistan played role in facilitating Saudi-Iran thaw: FO
• The Foreign Office on March 17, 2023 claimed Pakistan had played a role in facilitating the dialogue between Saudi Arabia and Iran.
• `It is obvious that this [Saudi-Iran] agreement is a result of the mediation efforts of China and the constructive talks that took it facilitated and the two sides were able to resolve their differences, Foreign Office spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch told a weekly press briefing. `We welcome this development. Pakistan like several other countries and friends of both Iran and Saudi Arabia played their part in facilitating the dialogue,` she added.
• In this context, the spokesperson recalled that the first meeting of the two foreign ministers took place in Islamabad on the sidelines of an OIC meeting
3. Govt proposes dialogue to bring economic stability
• Amid a rising political temperature, the government on March 17, 2023 proposed a dialogue among all political stakeholders to hammer out a road map for political and economic stability in the country.
• Federal Law Minister Azam Nazeer Tarar told the Senate that the move would help Pakistan make progress and ease the lives of the masses.
• Speaking on the third and final day of the golden jubilee celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the Senate, the minister said more polarisation would only weaken state institutions, as politics was not about discrimination but sticking to one`s ideology.
• `If we analyse the past, instead of improvement, conditions have deteriorated. Even now, economic growth faces ups and downs and one major reason for this situation is political instability and unconstitutional interventions, abrogation of the Constitution and imposition of dictatorships,` he noted
4. KP police trace `mastermind` of Police Lines blast
• The mastermind of Jaunary`s suicide attack at a mosque in Peshawar`s Police Lines has been traced, the police`s Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) said on Friday.
• At least 84 people were killed when a powerful explosion ripped through the mosque, inside Peshawar`s Red Zone area, on Jan 30. The blast blew away the wall of the prayer hall, causing the roof to cave in which increased the death toll.
• In a press conference at Peshawar`s Police Headquarters, the head of the KP Police`s CTD, AIG Shaukat Abbas, said the mastermind and the handler of the suicide bomber have been traced.
• `We have also arrested a second bomber who`d have carried out the attack had the first attacker failed to hit the target,` Mr Abbas said
5. Closure of SME Bank approved
• The federal cabinet on March 17, 2023 approved wrapping up of the SME Bank on the re commendations of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), but issued directives to ensure the protection of consumers` deposits.
• The cabinet presided over by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif fixed the support price of 40 kilograms of cotton crop.
• In another decision, the meeting approved a bill concerning protection of lawyers.
• According to the Prime Minister`s Office (PMO), Mr Sharif directed the SME Bank`s management to ensure protection of the customers` deposits during the bank`s winding down process.
• It was decided that all of the bank customers would be paid Rs5.557 billion, in the first phase
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