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November 01, 2018: National Current Affairs
1. SC acquits Aasia of blasphemy charge, orders her release
• In a landmark judgement, a five-judge bench of the Supreme Court on October 31, 2018 overturned the death sentence of a Christian woman, Aasia Bibi, convicted on a blasphemy charge and ordered her immediate release from jail after around eight years.
• `This appeal is allowed, the judgements of the [Lahore] high court as well as the trial court are reversed and consequently the conviction as also the sentence of death awarded to the appellant is set aside and she is acquitted of the charge, announced Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar, who headed the bench that had reserved its ruling on her appeal on Oct 8.
• Aasia Bibi, a mother of five, was awarded capital punishment by a trial court in November 2010 for committing alleged blasphemy during an altercation with a Muslim woman in Sheikhupura over a glass of water in June 2009. The Lahore High Court upheld the decision of the trial court in its October 2014 ruling, which was finally reversed by the Supreme Court after hearing her appeal. `Keeping in mind the evidence produced by the prosecution against the alleged blasphemy committed by the appellant, the prosecution has categorically failed to prove its case beyond reason-able doubt,` the chief justice observed.
• The 34-page verdict, which begins with Qalma-i-Shahadat, concludes with a Hadith of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him): `Beware! Whoever is cruel and hard on a non-Muslim minority, or curtails their rights or burdens them with more than they can bear, or takes anything from them against their free will; I (Prophet Muhammad) will complain against the person on the Day of Judgment.
• The entire judgment is punctuated with verses from the Holy Quran and sayings of the Holy Prophet (PBUH).
2. Pakistan offers coordinated operations along border to Iran
• Pakistan on October 31, 2018 offered coordinated security operations to Iran along the border to prevent terrorist activities.
• Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, while talking to Iranian journalists at the end of his day-long visit to Islamabad, said: `Pakistani authorities have proposed coordinated operations [to pre-empt terrorist incidents in future]. There appears to be a consensus within Pakistan that such incidents should not be allowed to recur so that those elements opposed to relations between the two neighbouring Islamic countries cannot undermine them.
• Mr Zarif was here on an unscheduled trip to follow up on the discussions and the ongoing cooperation between the two countries for the recovery of Iranian border guards kidnapped by terrorists on Oct 16 from a post in Mirjaveh region close to the border with Balochistan province. Jaish alAdl, a terrorist group operating in the region, had claimed responsibility for their kidnapping. Iranian leaders believe that the militants transferred the guards to Pakistan after taking them hostage.
• The Iranian foreign minister, who met Prime Minister Imran Khan, his counterpart and host Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Army Chief Gen Qamar Bajwa, looked satisfied with Pakistani efforts and said that `serious promises have been made to resolve the matter`.
• He described his discussions as `encouraging`.
• A statement issued by the Foreign Office said: `It was agreed to continue close consultations through the established multipronged mechanism between the two countries.
3. `Anti-corruption month` from November 1, 2018
• The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) is observing `anti-corruption month` from Thursday (November 1, 2018).
• According to a NAB statement, students of different public and private schools, colleges and universities will participate in competitions of declamation, poetry, singing, painting, drama and essay writing.
• `The competitions will last till commencement of International Anti Corruption Day (Dec 9). All finalists will be given cash prizes and appreciation certificates on Dec 9.
4. US urges Pakistan to enact law banning radical groups
• Hours before members of religious organisations spread across country to protest a Supreme Court decision to free Aasia Bibi, the United States urged Pakistan to immediately enact legislation that formally proscribes radical religious groups.
• The US suggestion followed a decision announced last week for ending a ban on two radical religious organisations, Jamaatud Dawa (JuD) and Falah-i-Insaniyat Foundation (FIF).
• The United States has designated both as terrorist groups.
• The Pakistani media reported that the two outfits temporarily came off the list of banned outfits in Pakistan because the ordinance that proscribed the munder a UN resolution had lapsed.
• The new Pakistani government is working on a proposal to extend the ban.
5. Kanrani becomes SCBA president
• Amanullah Kanrani of Hamid Khan’s Professional group notched the top slot of president in annual elections of the Supreme Court Bar Association for year 2018-19 held here on October 31, 2018.
• According to unofficial results, Kanrani bagged 1092 votes while his rival candidate Ali Ahmad Kurd of Asma Jahangir’s Independent group could get 950 votes.
• Kanrani contested the bar election for the second time on the same slot as he lost his previous election to Kamran Murtaza in 2013.
• Azmatullah Chaudhry of Asma Jahangir’s Independent group notched the slot of Secretary by bagging 1089 votes while his rival Shamimur Rehman Malik of Professional group secured 873 votes.
November 1, 2018: International Current Affairs
6. Russia plans meeting on Afghan conflict
• Russian Ambassador to Pakistan Alexey Dedov has said that Moscow will soon call a meeting of regional and international partners and stakeholders to work out a just solution to the Afghan issue.
• The meeting which was scheduled to be held in September was being rescheduled on Afghan President Ashraf Ghani`s request and it would be attended by Iran, China, India, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
• Moscow supponed all peace initiatives to solve the Afghan problem as there was no military solution to the Afghan conflict. He said that Russia`s main aim was to maintain geo-political stability in the world rather than acting like a superpower.
• `We are hopeful that intra-Afghan dialogue will pave the way for a peaceful solution to decades-old Afghan issue,` the Russian ambassador said.
7. New migrant caravan departs for US
• ABOUT 2,000 migrants began walking north from El Salvador`s capital on October 31, 2018, the latest of several groups trying to reach the United States, even as President Donald Trump increases pressure to halt the flow of people.
• The migrants departed in two groups, including men and women pushing strollers and others with children on their shoulders. A separate group comprising about 300 people set off for the US border from the Salvadoran capital.
• A caravan estimated to number at least 3,500 people, which left Honduras in mid-October and is now in southern Mexico, has become a major issue in US congressional elections on Nov 6. The bulk of migrants caught trying to enter the United States illegally via Mexico come from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. Many make the dangerous journey north to escape high levels of poverty and violence in their homelands. The United States is in the process of sending 5,200 troops to its southern border as part of Trump`s crackdown on illegal immigration. The prospect has so far not discouraged people from leaving El Salvador.
8. India inaugurates world`s tallest statue
• India inaugurated the world`s tallest statue on October 31, 2018 with fireworks, folk dances and floral tributes, deploying tight security amid an outcry by local groups over the soaring cost of the 182-metre (600-feet) sculpture of an independence hero.
• Prime Minister Narendra Modi officially opened the statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel describing the completion of his pet project as `a day that will be remembered in the history of India`.
• Air force jets flew over the giant figure and clouds of rose petals were dropped from helicopters onto its head as Modi bent in front of the statue on the ground.
• Modi hailed Sardar Patel`s `strategic thinking` in bringing together the disparate country after independence in 1947 and described the Statue of Unity as `a symbol of our engineering and technical prowess`.
9. UN wants to re-launch Yemen talks after US call for ceasefire
• The United Nations said on October 31, 2018 it aims to re-launch Yemen peace talks `within a month`, shortly after the United States called for the warring parties to come to the negotiating table.
• UN envoy Martin Griffiths welcomed calls for an immediate resumption of talks and a ceasefire in Yemen.
• Mattis said the US is calling for the warring sides to meet Griffith sin Sweden in November.
November 1, 2018: Sports Current Affairs
10. Pakistan beat NZ by two runs in T20 thriller
• Left-arm pace bowler Shaheen Shah Afridi defended 17 runs in the last over as Pakistan defeated New Zealand by two runs in a thrilling finish to the first Twenty20 international in Abu Dhabi on October 31,2018.
• The victory gave world number one ranked Pakistan their seventh consecutive win since July and 15th in 17 Twenty20 internationals this year.
• Mohammad Hafeez top scored with 45 in Pakistan`s 148-6 after they won the toss and batted.