Pakistan Current Affairs - 2020

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National Emergency Declared in Pakistan to fight against Locusts in the border

Pakistan which is facing the worst locust attacks in decades has declared National Emergency. The emergency was declared to tackle the insects that are destroying crops in Punjab province, the main region of agricultural production.

Highlights

The locusts are currently in the India-Pakistan border along Cholistan. Usually, these Locusts move to Iran after some time. However, this time due to low temperatures they are still in Pakistan.

Locusts in India

By the end of January 2020, the Indian border of Gujarat and Rajasthan were attacked by desert locusts from Pakistan and Iran. They mainly attacked the oil seed producing regions. It included rapeseed and cumin seed plants in Gujarat in around 17,000 hectares and 360,000 hectares of land in Rajasthan.

The smallest swarm of locusts eats as much as a day’s food of 35,000 people. They travel 150 km in a day.

A similar locust crisis was last reported in 2007 when the heavy rains were in favourable breeding conditions for the insects.

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Pakistan successfully test fires Shaheen-1 surface-to-surface ballistic missile

Pakistan conducted successful test launch of Shaheen-1 surface-to-surface ballistic missile. The test was conducted part of a training exercise aimed at testing the operational readiness of Army Strategic Forces Command for ensuring Pakistan’s credible minimum deterrence. The test come days after India conducted the first night trial of Agni-II surface-to-surface medium range nuclear-capable missile having strike range of 2,000 km.

About Shaheen-1 missile

It is a land based supersonic short-range ballistic missile (SRBM). It has been jointly designed and developed by joint venture of Pakistan’s National Engineering and Scientific Commission (NESCOM) and National Defence Complex (NDC).  Its design is reportedly based on Chinese M-9 missile. It was first tested in April 1999.

It derives its name after a species of Falcon found in the mountains of Pakistan. It is also designated as Hatf IV. It is capable of delivering all types of warheads (conventional as well as nuclear). It has strike range of 650 KMs, bringing a number of Indian cities under its range. It is propelled by a two-stage solid-fuel rocket motor.

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