MonitorsPublished on Jan 23, 2015
Nepali political leaders have missed a self-imposed deadline for promulgation of the country's new Constitution. Last year, in the wake of the election to the second Constituent Assembly (CA), the lawmakers had kept January 22 as the deadline.
Blame game continues in Nepal
< class="heading1">Analysis

Nepali political leaders have missed a self-imposed deadline for promulgation of the country’s new Constitution. Last year, in the wake of the election to the second Constituent Assembly (CA), the lawmakers had kept January 22 as the deadline. However, the political parties again failed to reach a consensus on key issues eluding a resolution. A durable Constitution requires the consent of at least the four major political forces and addresses at least the fundamental aspirations of Madhesis, Dalits, Janajatis, and women.

Though 30 political parties in the unicameral body had decided to draft the new Constitution within a year based on consensus. But the lawmakers could not even start preparatory work during the last year because of differences over process and procedure to forge consensus on contentious issues like the nature of federal structure, form of government, electoral system and the design of the judiciary.

Major political parties, including the ruling Nepali Congress and alliance partner CPN-UML as also the main opposition Unified CPN (Maoist) and Madhesh-based parties, had differences in opinions over the issue of federalism. As a result, several cross-party talks failed to yield any favourable result. The situation became worse when the Constituent Assembly turned into a battleground after opposition parties disrupted an assembly meeting on 20 January and attacked the senior ruling party members, resulting in chaos and injury to a group of security personnel. Shouting slogans, lawmakers from opposition parties, led by UCPN (Maoist), threw chairs and microphones when CA chairman Nembang asked Nepali Congress chief whip Chinkaji Shrestha to form a panel to initiate a voting process for the settlement of contentious issues.

At a press conference held on 21 January, Maoist chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal, popularly known as Prachanda, accused Prime Minister Sushil Koirala of playing a "villainous" role in spoiling the whole process while former prime minister and senior UML leader Jhala Nath Khanal blamed the Maoists and their leadership for taking hostage the constitution-framing process. Under the circumstances, it has become very difficult to predict how much time it will take to have consensus among the political parties as the Maoists and their allies want the deadline to pass without any result so that they can blame the ruling Nepali Congress and UML for the failure of the constitution-drafting process.


Here, it is important to recall the circumstances that led to the formation of the CA in the first place. The demand for the establishment of the Assembly came from the Maoists during the conflict, but other political parties became just as central to this agenda later. The CA was a commitment that was enshrined in the 12-point agreement, the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), and the Interim Constitution. All of these documents state that all decisions of the peace process will be taken through consensus, and although consensus has often been elusive, the parties have discovered that they have had no option but to return to this very path. All decisions on matters related to the peace process have only been possible through consensus. The rehabilitation and integration of former Maoist combatants is a case in point.

When the parties have failed to achieve consensus, there have been political crises. But leaders have soon realised that they have no alternative to working together. This was the case after the dissolution of the first CA and this was the case even after the 2013 elections. Even though the UCPN (Maoist) performed poorly and initially decided to boycott the process, it eventually agreed to participate in the CA.

The UCPN (Maoist) agreed to this only after the ruling parties promised to abide by all previous agreements and understandings, and to own up to all decisions reached by the previous CA. It is also important to note that the provision for federalism was inserted in the Interim Constitution after the Madhes Movement of 2007. The purpose of federalism was to fulfil the aspirations of Nepal’s marginalised groups for dignity and representation.

Over time, the proponents of identity-based federalism have come to moderate their demands. They no longer demand ’priority-rights’ (agradhikar)?that certain ethnic groups will receive priority over others in certain states. And in the days before the dissolution of the first CA in 2012, there was almost an agreement on a federal model that included both identity and viability as factors. After their victory in the recent election, however, the ruling parties?Nepali Congress and CPN-UML?decided that they could not accept identity as a major factor in the delineation of provincial boundaries.

A group of experts argue that this has to change if a durable constitution is to be drafted. The parties have to reach a compromise on a federal system that recognises the identity of marginalised groups while at the same time, preventing the domination of one group over another. Identities should be accorded dignity and respect, but ethnic chauvinism should not be allowed to arise?whether from traditionally dominant groups or other groups in new federations, the experts argue.

International community concerned

The UN Resident Coordinator in Nepal issued a statement by saying that it is necessary to have the widest support from the Nepali people for the new Constitution to be implemented peacefully and for it to offer stability. At this moment the political parties need to redouble their efforts to secure an inclusive constitution. The United Nations, in a statement, said the Constitution is meant to be a foundational document that will guide the country’s course for the foreseeable future. "The international community is concerned that relations between the parties have been marked by tension in recent days. We call upon them to provide forward-looking leadership in the larger national interest and to continue constitutional negotiations in a spirit of flexibility and urgency."

The international community has condemned violence or threats of violence and urged all parties to return to the negotiating table. This is the time for the political parties to demonstrate leadership and fulfil their historic responsibility. This is a sentiment widely shared by all influential international actors in Nepal, including that of all five permanent members of the UN Security Council, including China.

The Ministry of External Affairs of India has said that it expects all Nepalese leaders to work together in the final stage of the peace process and in drawing up a new Constitution that honours past agreements and the mandate of the elections.

(The writer is a Fellow at Observer Research Foundation, Kolkata)

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Banning JuD: Real shift in Pak terror policy?

Taruni Kumar

Pakistan’s decision to ban a number of militant organizations, including the Jamaat-ud Dawa (JuD) and the Haqqani Network, is a step that many believed it would never actually take in its fight against terror. JuD acts as a front for Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), the terror outfit responsible for the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks. Both India and USA have pushed to ban JuD in the past and demanded that its chief Hafiz Saeed be hauled up for his alleged involvement in the attacks. While the ban may seem like a marked shift in Pakistan’s policy, the timing of the announcement raises scepticism. In fact, there is still confusion about whether or not the ban has been put in place.

The Foreign Office spokesperson, Tasneem Aslam, in her weekly briefing said that Pakistan, as a member of the United Nations, is obligated to proscribe the entities and individuals that are listed by the organisation including JuD. She added that Pakistan is required to freeze assets and enforce travel restrictions on the listed organisations and that the country has taken this action after a statutory regulatory order (SRO) was issued.

There was initially some confusion about Pakistan’s intentions when the Minister for Defence Production Rana Tanvir made a statement calling JuD a charity organisation and saying that it would not be banned. While Tasneem Aslam’s statement seemed to clarify Pakistan’s stance on the issue, the US has said that it has no confirmation on the ban. Pakistan’s High Commissioner to India, Abdul Basit, has also stated that only JuD’s assets have been frozen and the organisation itself has not been banned.

The move is particularly significant because of Pakistan’s history of cherry picking between good and bad militant groups. The country’s war on terrorism has always been stunted by its decision to support some terror outfits while targeting others. This lack of consistency has also led to the international community viewing Pakistan’s efforts with scepticism. Also, Pakistan has in the past banned LeT but not dissociated itself from or cracked down on it.

Strategic implications

The announcement could also have strategic implications for the India-Pakistan-US relationship as it comes just days before US President Barack Obama’s visit to India for the latter’s Republic Day celebrations. There is speculation that this decision could be used by President Obama as a bargaining chip with India in his attempt to bring the derailed Indo-Pak relationship back on track.

Aslam also mentioned that Pakistan hopes President Obama will raise the issue of the cross-border violations with India. She hinted that India was the perpetrator in the violations. According to the statement, some elements are unwilling to see Pakistan succeed in its anti-militancy drive and are attempting to detail its North Waziristan operation by drawing the military’s attention to the Line of Control.

Reports in the media have also portrayed this decision as having been influenced by pressure from the US Secretary of State John Kerry. During his recent visit, he praised the country’s initiatives against militancy and insisted that the war must be fought without any discrimination between different terrorist organizations. However, when Aslam was asked about US pressure, she said that the country had taken this decision for the protection of its own people and that it was part of the new National Action Plan. US State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki, in a statement to reporters, said that the Pakistani government had made clear that it was in the country’s own interests to take steps against all militant groups and to not differentiate between them.

Difficult to implement

Hafiz Saeed has stated that the organisation will continue its "charity work" despite the ban. Media reports suggest that many believe controlling the organisation’s activities across the country and stopping its funding will be extremely difficult to implement. JuD’s official reaction accused the Pakistan government of banning the organisation under pressure from the US to "please India".

The implementation of such a ban and not just its announcement is the crucial element that will define whether or not Pakistan has changed its line on terrorism. As of now, there is no clarity about whether or not JuD, Haqqani Network and other militant organisations have been banned in the country. President Obama and Prime Minister Modi’s discussion on terrorism during the former’s visit to India will also highlight whether the announcement’s timing was to facilitate US’ attempts to positively influence the Indo-Pak relationship.

(Mihir Bhonsale is a Research Assistant at the Observer Research Foundation, Kolkata Chapter).

< class="heading1">Country Reports


< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Controversy over Cabinet nominees

The list of cabinet nominees submitted to the Afghan Parliament by President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah has run into trouble. A total of seven candidates have been rejected by the joint parliamentary committee on charges of dual citizenship.

However, a number of members of the Lower House of the Parliament insisted that the rejection of these nominees should be reviewed. Differences among the lawmakers is said to have started a brawl in Parliament.

Another nominee, Mohammad Yaqoub Haidari, who was up for the Agricultural Ministry, was removed from the list after it emerged that he was wanted by the Interpol for massive tax evasion and other money-related fraud in Estonia.

< class="text11verdana">For more information see: "Parliament Rejects 7 Ministerial Nominees", Tolo News, 21 January 2015; "Brawl in Afghan parliament over cabinet nominees rejection", Khaama Press, 22 January 2015; "Dual Citizenship Causes Dismissal of Seven Cabinet Nominees",Tolo News, 21 January 2015; "Mohammad Yaqoub Haidari removed from Afghan cabinet nomination list", Khaama Press, 19 January 2015

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Enemy networks infiltrated

The chief of the National Directorate of Security (NDS) this week claimed that the NDS had successfully infiltrated enemy groups like the Taliban, the Haqqani Network and al Qaeda.

< class="text11verdana">For more information see : "Afghan intelligence has infiltrated among enemy networks: Nabil", Khaama Press, 22 January 2015

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Boost for trade ties with India

The Indian Ministry of External Affairs announced this week that it has granted permission to Afghan trucks to unload their cargo directly at the integrated check post in Attari. Before this permission, Afghan trucks could bring their goods only up till Wagah, but not to India’s border. This concession on India’s part comes against the backdrop of threats issued by the Afghan government that it would prevent Pakistani trucks from entering its territory if its trucks were granted access to India.

< class="text11verdana">For more information see : "India offers to unload Afghan trucks at Attari", The Indian Express, 22 January 2015; "Kabul to Block Pakistani Trucks if Islamabad Doesn’t Open Routes to Afghan Traders", Tolo News, 17 January 2015

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Trade pact with Turkmenistan

During President Ghani’s visit to Turkmenistan this week, the leaders of the two countries signed agreements related to the trade of natural gas, construction of a railway network and border terminals for their respective energy markets. The bilateral trade between the two countries is said to double by 2016.

< class="text11verdana">For more information see : "Ghani Looks to Strengthen Trade Ties with Turkmenistan", Tolo News, 22 January 2015


< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Anti-govt protests turn violent

Anti-government protestors, mostly belonging to Opposition Bangladesh National Party (BNP) took to violence across the nation on the first anniversary of the 2014 January parliamentary polls, which they had boycotted demanding the restoration of all-party interim government for polls.

The violent incidents claimed many lives, and included arsonists burning a city bus in capital Dhaka, in which 28 persons suffered burn injuries, of which nine were declared critical.

< class="text11verdana">For more information see : "28 burnt in city bus arson", The Daily Star, 23 January 2015; ""Dozens dead, 7,000 arrested as political violence rocks Bangladesh", CNN, 22 January 2015 "28 burnt in city bus arson", The Daily Star, 23 January 2015; ""Dozens dead, 7,000 arrested as political violence rocks Bangladesh", CNN, 22 January 2015

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Amnesty comes under fire

A senior minister has criticised Amnesty International (AI) for attacking the Awami League Government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, overlooking the violent acts of Opposition Bangladesh National Party (BNP).

< class="text11verdana">For more information see : "Quamrul blasts AI for its statement on BD affairs", UNB, 23 January 2015; "Khaleda’s arrest to be govt’s political funeral: BNP", UNB, 23 January 2015; "Political crisis to be over soon, hopes Raushon", UNB, 23 January 2015; "Khaleda urged all to continue blockade: Yusuf Haider", UNB, 24 January 2015

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Hazina, Modi share development vision

Prime Ministers Sheikh Hasina and Narendra Modi, respectively of Bangladesh and India, shared a developmental vision and the two countries were development partners, Foreign Minister A H Mahmud Ali has said.

< class="text11verdana">For more information see : "BD, India dev partners: FM", UNB, 24 January 2015; "Tripura CM for deal to get access to Ctg port", UNB, 23 January 2015

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">US trade controls stays

Based on internal studies of Bangladesh’s reported failure to address concerns about the safety and security of factory workers in the apparel manufacturing industry, the US has announced its decision to continue with the suspension of trade benefits for the country.

< class="text11verdana">For more information see : ""U.S. Suspension Of rade Benefits For Bangladesh Continues", Fashion Times, 19 January 2015


< class="heading12boldGeorgia">FM on authorised absence

Foreign minister Rinzin Dorji will be on authorized absence to avoid conflict of interest when the Office of Attorney General prosecutes him on behalf of the government. Dorji will be absent till the case is resolved.

< class="text11verdana">For more information see : "FM to go on authorized absence", Kuensel Online, 23 January 2015

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">International Festival in February

The first International Festival in Bhutan would begin in 14 to 23 February. The ten day festival will be organized to commemorate 35th birth anniversary of the King Jigme Keshar Namgyel Wangchuck, 60th birth anniversary of the Fourth King and to mark ’Visit Bhutan Year 2015’.

< class="text11verdana">For more information see : First Bhutan International Festival from Feb. 14-23" Kuensel Online, 23 January 2015


< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Govt introspects ordinance route

Following President Pranab Mukherjee’s objection to the excessive use of ordinance by the current government, senior union ministers of the Government held discussions in New Delhi about how to introduce recent ordinance to the Parliament before the lapse. Among those present were Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, and the Parliamentary Affairs Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu. According to the Constitution, an ordinance enacted by the executive is valid for no more than 42 days and must be validated by the legislature.

< class="text11verdana">For more information see : "After President Rap, govt may drop last ordinance", The Indian Express, 22 January 2015; "After President Pranab Mukherjee’s objection; government discusses Ordinance issue", The Economic Times, 20 January 2015

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Energy, climate-change, top of Obama’s visit

US Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes has flagged energy policy and climate change as priorities for President Obama during his forthcoming visit to India. US hopes to bring India on board ahead of the crucial 2015 global UN climate change conference to be held in Paris. Climate change advocates are hopeful that legally binding agreements will be reached to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

< class="text11verdana">For more information see : "Top US Diplomat Hints at Agenda for Barack Obama’s Visit to India", The Times of India, 22 January 2015

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Muslims grow at 24 percent

Latest census results show that India’s Muslim population grew at 24 percent during the 2001-2011 decade, five percentage points less than the previous decade. In terms of its size relative to the country’s aggregate population, the Muslim community’s share increased by 0.8 percent.

In national average growth was calculated to be 18 percent. Jammu and Kashmir emerged as having a largest share of Muslim citizens (68.3 percent) followed by Assam (34.2 percent) and West Bengal (27 percent). The data is compiled by the Registrar General of Census.

< class="text11verdana">For more information see : "Percentage of Muslims in India grew by just 0.8 in last decade: What are political parties fussing over?", First Post, 23 January 2015; "Muslim population in India rose by 24% between 2001 and 2011: Census", Daily News and Analysis, 22 January 2015

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">ISIS threat in Mumbai

Ahead of US President Barack Obama’s second visit to India, security officials found a threat issued by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) warning of a terrorist attack during Republic Day. The threat was scribbled on a toilet wall inside Mumbai’s international airport. Officials of the Central Industrial Security Force, which is responsible for security of airports, were unable to identity suspects or establish whether the threat is genuine or merely a hoax. Nevertheless, this is the second such threat in a month found in Mumbai’s airport.

< class="text11verdana">For more information see : "Another ISIS terror message found scribbled in washroom of Mumbai airport", The Times of India, 16 January 2015; "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria", India Today, 16 January 2015

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Poised for 6.5 pc growth: Jaitley

The economy is set to clock a 6.5 per cent growth next year and then take off to reach 8-9 per cent in the years to come on the back of huge public support for reforms initiated by the government, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said at the World Economic Forum on Thursday.

< class="text11verdana">For more information see : "India poised for 6.5% growth: Jaitley", The Hindu, 23 January 2015; "WEF 2015: India’s growth potential above 9%; government moving rapidly on reforms, says FM Arun Jaitley", Economic Times, 22 January 2015; "Ongoing Indian economic reforms much more than ’big bang’: FM Arun Jaitley at WEF", Economic Times, 23 January 2015

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Stock indices at new high

The BSE Sensex and Nifty ended higher, hitting record highs for the fourth straight day, led by blue-chip stocks, tracking a global rally after the European Central Bank (ECB) launched a landmark bond-buying stimulus programme that buoyed investors’ risk appetite.

< class="text11verdana">For more information see : "Sensex, Nifty close at new highs after ECB stimulus programme", Livemint, 23 January 2015; "Sensex, Nifty pare gains after hitting fresh record highs on ECB’s QE plan", Economic Times, 23 January 2015


< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Defence Minister raided, replaced

In a surprise midnight operation, police raided Defence Minister Mohamed Nazim’s house, and claimed to recovering ’dangerous weapons’, leading to President Abdulla Yameen, replacing him with Maj-Gen (retd), Moosa Ali Jaleel, Maldivian High Commissioner to Pakistan.

< class="text11verdana">For more information see: "Nazim dismissed as defence minister, replaced by Moosa Ali Jaleel", Minivan News, 20 January 2015; "Minister’s apartment raided on ’terror’ suspicions", Haveeru Online, 18 January 2015; "Police raid Defence Minister Nazim’s home in early hours", Minivan News, 18 January 2015; "Dangerous weapons found in Nazim’s house during raid, say Police", Minivan News, 20 January 2015; "Weapons found, Nazim not cooperating fully: police", Haveeru Online, 20 January 2015; "Raid officers not informed it was Defence Minister’s residence, say police", SunOnline, 18 January 2014; "Minister treated ’respectfully’ during raid: police", SunOnline, 18 January 2015; "’Weapons’ have nothing to do with Nazim or family: lawyers", Haveeru Online, 23 January 2015; "Nazim: Will continue to serve the nation", SunOnline, 20 January 2015; "Minister Nazim: I still stand with the President and country", SunOnline, 19 January 2015; "Government guarantees safety and security for all Maldivians", SunOnline, 21 January 2015; "President has ’quick’ meeting with Police Commissioner", Haveeru Online, 19 January 2015; "Letter incriminating Minister Adeeb found in raid: Opposition leader", Haveeru Online, 18 January 2015; "Adeeb appointed Acting Home Minister", SunOnline, 23 January 2015; "President Maumoon congratulates Minister Moosa Ali Jaleel", SunOnline, 20 January 2015; "Changes brought to senior MNDF positions", Minivan News, 22 January 2015

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Raid-rumours bring them together?

Rumours of an imminent police raid on the residence of Jumhooree Party leader, Gasim Ibrahim, saw main Opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), coming to his defence, and party leaders visiting him as a show of solidarity with him.

Days after the episode, which also coincided with a real raid on Defence Minister Mohamed Nazim and his subsequent replacement, MDP leader and former President Mohammed Nasheed called upon incumbent Abdulla Yameen to convene an all-party meet to discuss recent incidents.

< class="text11verdana">For more information see : "Nasheed pledges to defend Gasim from government attacks", Minivan News, 17 January 2015; "MDP officials rally to Qasim’s defense amid raid rumor", Haveeru Online, 18 January 2015; "Police refute reports of search warrant for Maafannu Villa", SunOnline, 18 January 2015; "Govt confiscates land leased to Qasim’s V Media", Haveeru Online, 18 January 2015; "I am not trembling" says Gasim after reports of imminent police raid on his home", Minivan News, 18 January 2015; "Nasheed urges President Yameen to convene all-party talks", Minivan News, 22 January 2015

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Row-ridden judge, JSC member

President Abdulla Yameen has appointed controversial Supreme Court Judge, Ali Hameed as a member of the constitutionally-mandated Judicial Service Commission, after JSC president, Justice Adam Mohamed quit, citing personal reasons.

< class="text11verdana">For more information see : "Justice Ali Hameed appointed to the Judicial Service Commission", Minivan News, 20 January 2015; "JSC President Justice Adam Mohamed Abdulla resigns", Minivan News, 18 January 2015


< class="heading12boldGeorgia">India calls for more trade

India President, Pranab Mukherjee has called for increased bilateral trade with Myanmar during the Vice-president Dr. Sai Mauk Kham who is on a six-day visit in New Delhi. The Vice-president met President and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

< class="text11verdana">For information more see : "Indian President calls for more Myanmar-India trade", Mizzima, 23 January 2015

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Upper House endorses talks

Upper House speaker Khin Aung Myint urged MPs to submit their suggestions about six-party talks to the parliament by January 23. He spoke at an Upper House of Parliament session on 21 January.

< class="text11verdana">For information more see : "Six-party talk on the horizon", Eleven Myanmar, 22 January 2015

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Wirathu stands by his comment on UN envoy

Monk Wirathu said he stands by the comment on UN Human Rights Envoy. He allegedly called Yanghee Lee, UN Special Rapporteur a "whore" and a "bitch" after Lee criticised a bill opposing inter-faith marriage and religious conversions.

< class="text11verdana">For information more see : "Wirathu stands by offensive language against UN rights envoy", The Irrawaddy, 23 January 2015


< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Politicians fail to deliver statute

Nepal plunged deeper into crisis on Friday after feuding politicians, throwing microphones and shoes, failed to meet a deadline to table a new constitution, seen as a key step to stability in the Himalayan buffer state.

< class="text11verdana">For information more see : "Nepal plunges into turmoil as politicians scuffle over constitution", Reuters, 23 January 2015; "Parties fail to deliver statute", Republica, 23 January 2015

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Stocks fall

Political parties’ failure to reach a consensus on the new constitution has dealt a blow to investor confidence. Reversing the gains recorded in the last few days, Nepal Stock Exchange (Nepse) lost 12.6 points on Tuesday and 3.56 points on Thursday, to close the week at 959.24 points.

< class="text11verdana">For information more see : "Nepse falls on political chaos", eKantipur, 23 January 2015

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Land embezzled

Land property designated for a master plan of the Pashupati Area Development Trust (PADT) is found to have been used illegally as sand and soil mine in a scandal amounting to millions.

< class="text11verdana">For information more see : "PADT officials under CIAA scanner: Millions embezzled", Republica, 23 January 2015

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">LPG pipeline from India

India is now studying feasibility of laying a LPG and gas pipeline to Nepal for supply of cooking fuel to the Himalayan nation. Nepal currently buys all of its cooking gas (LPG) needs from India, which supplies gas through trucks.

< class="text11verdana">For information more see : "India considers laying LPG pipeline to Nepal", The Financial Express, 19 January 2015


< class="heading12boldGeorgia">PTI boycott till poll-probe

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan has said that his party will not return to the national and provincial assemblies until a transparent judicial commission is formed by the government to investigate the allegations of rigging in the 2013 general elections.

< class="text11verdana">For information more see : "No return to assemblies until JC formed: Imran", The Nation, 24 January 2015

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Ban-list removed

The National Counter-terrorism Authority (Nacta) has removed the list of proscribed organisations from its official website. This is being seen as an attempt to further confuse the ongoing debate about whether or not the Jamaat-ud Dawa and Haqqani Network have been banned.

< class="text11verdana">For information more see : "Nacta removes list of banned outfits from website", The Nation, 24 January 2015

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Ban not confirmed, says US

The US State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki has said that it has received no confirmation of specific steps from Pakistan with reference to Pakistan’s proposed ban of the Haqqani Network and the Jamaat-ud Dawa.

< class="text11verdana">For information more see : "No confirmation on ban on Haqqani network, JuD: US", The Express Tribune, 23 January 2015

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Obama: 26/11 attackers must face justice: Obama

US President Barack Obama, in an interview to India Today magazine, has said that it is unacceptable for Pakistan to provide safe havens to terrorists and that those behind the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai must face justice.

< class="text11verdana">For information more see : "Obama says elements behind Mumbai attacks must face justice", Dawn, 24 January 2015

Sri Lanka

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">PM stands by promised reforms

In his maiden appearance in Parliament as Prime Minister for a third time (with breaks), Ranil Wikcremesinghe has promised constitutional reforms to resolve the nation’s ethnic problem of decades.

This came two days after Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera, on his maiden overseas visit after taking over, made a similar commitment to the neighbouring Indian leadership, which had facilitated a negotiated yet unimplemented constitutional solution to the ethnic issue, as far back as 1987.

< class="text11verdana">For information more see : "Ranil promises radical constitutional reforms to solve ’national problem’", The Island, 20 January 2015; "Mangala promises demilitarisation of North, domestic war crimes probe... calls upon TNA to join govt.", The Island, 20 January 2015; "Constitutional reforms not requiring referendum within 100 days ? Govt.", The Island, 20 January 2015; "New Muslim Religious Affairs Minister to appoint special committee to usher in harmony" Taking into consideration problems faced by Muslims", The Island, 22 January 2015; "Mangala meets Modi", Daily Mirror Online, 20 January 2015; "’Please come back! We don’t want Sri Lankans to be refugees anywhere in the world!’ Mangala’s appeal in New Delhi:", The Island, 19 January 2015; "Project to halt illegal migration: Abbott seeks President Sirisena’s support", The Island, 22 January 2015; "Sampanthan polity interdicts Ananthy Sasitharan from ITAK", Tamilnet, 17 January 2015;

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Police raid Mahinda Rajapaksa home

After police raided his family home in southern Hambantota district, former President Mahinda Rajapaksa asked if it was all to ’good governance’ promised by the successor-government.

< class="text11verdana">For more information see: "Is searching my house good governance-MR", Daily Mirror Online, 21 January 2015; "Former President complains of his house being searched ’For the first time in history’", The Island, 20 January, 2015; Police search MR’s house for Lambo, Daily Mirror Online, 19 January 2015; "Govt. in quandary over using 18 A to remove retired judge Balapatabendi...pushes Bribery Commission to probe six mega deals", The Island, 20 January 2015; "Police verifying fate of missing Presidential sec. Vehicles", Daily Mirror Online, 20 January 2015; "Floating armoury: Police looking at licence factor", Daily Mirror Online, 19 January 2015; "President raps Basnayake for endorsing Gotabhaya’s action’, Over Rs.8 billion BoC Account , Galle Floating Armoury", The Island, 22 January 2015; "Cabraal’s and Sajin’s passports seized", Daily Mirror Online, 23 January 2015; "Dinesh decries campaign to discredit leaders who liberated the country", The Island, 20 January 2015; "SLFP complains of continuing post-election violence by govt goons", The Island, 19 January, 2015

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Gota, Peiris deny coup-bid

With the dust settling down on the presidential polls, former Defence Secretary and then President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s brother, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa has described as ’baseless’, allegations of a pre-dawn coup conspiracy on 9 January, the day of vote-count after the previous day’s polling to the nation’s high office.

In media interviews and/or statement made to the police investigating the case on the coup bid, Gota Rajapaksa, then Foreign Minister G L Peiris, among others, have said that they had instead called in the army commander, IG of Police and the Attorney-General to discuss the need for imposing curfew if early reports of post-poll violence took a turn for the worse.

< class="text11verdana">For more information see: "Coup allegations are baseless: Gota", Daily Mirror Online, 23 January 2015; "GL denies attempted coup d’etat or any other criminal initiative", The Island, 22 January 2015; "Wimal asks what is wrong in CJ visiting Temple Trees" The Island, 22 January 2015; "CJ denies resigning", The Island, 22 January 2015

Primary Documentation


"Press Release of presentation of credentials by Permanent Representative of Bhutan to United Nations Daw Penjo" Bhutan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 20 January 2015


"Inaugural Address by Secretary (East) at the ASEAN-India Cyber Security Conference in New Delhi" Ministry of External Affairs website, 19 January 2015


"Press Release of Myanmar President, Thein Sein receives Korean military delegation" Myanmar President’s Office, 22 January 2015


"Press Release from Embassy of Nepal, Dhaka, Bangladesh" Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Government of Nepal, 22 January 2015

"Press Release from Embassy of Nepal, New Delhi, India" Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Government of Nepal, 19 January 2015


"Record of the Press Briefing by Spokesperson on 22 January 2015" Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Government of Pakistan, 22 January 2015

"Reaction to publication of blasphemous caricatures" Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Government of Pakistan, 20 January 2015

"Pakistan condemns US drone strike in North Waziristan" Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Government of Pakistan, 19 January 2015




Taimoor Shah and Joseph Goldstein, "Taliban Fissures in Afghanistan Are Seen as an Opening for ISIS", The New York Times, 21 January 2015

Margherita Stancati and Ehsanullah Amiri, "Afghan Offical Seeks to Muster Own Force", The Wall Street Journal, 20 January 2015

Rod Nordland, "Charges and Clashing Interests Mar Selection of a Cabinet for Afghanistan", The New York Times, 20 January 2015

Kate Clark, "The Cabinet and the Parliament: Afghanistan’s government in trouble before it is formed", Afghanistan Analysts Network, 20 January 2015


Opinion Pieces

Kuensel, "The future of our farms", Kuensel Online, 22 January 2015

Kuensel, "A new dilemma", Kuensel Online, 20 January 2015


Opinion Pieces

Pratap Bhanu Mehta, "Death and taxes", The Indian Express, 22 January 2015

Vasundhara Sirnate, "Ideology and the rise of terror", The Hindu, 21 January 2015

Shiv Visvanathan, "A prophet abandoned by his own community", The Hindu, 21 January 2015

Ramachandra Guha, "India already the myth-making world superpower", Hindustan Times, 18 January 2015


Opinion Pieces

N Sathiya Moorthy, "President sacks Defence Minister after police recover weapons",, 22 January 2015

N Sathiya Moorthy, "’Brand Maldives’ caught in radicalisation",, 16 January 2015


Opinion Pieces

Eleven Myanmar, "Govt. must act on Six Party Talk, Charter Change", Eleven Myanmar, 21 January 2015


Opinion Pieces

Semanta Dahal, "Development Non-grata", eKantipur, 23 January 2015

Narayan Manandhar, "Misplaced priorities", eKantipur, 23 January 2015

Dinesh Bhattarai, "Challenge to democracy?", Republica, 22 January 2015

Peter W. Bodde, "Nepal at crossroads", Republica, 22 January 2015

Chaitanya Subba, "Perpetuating status quo", Republica, 21 January 2015


Opinion Pieces

Sattar Alvi, "Obama visiting India", Daily Times, 23 January 2015

Michael Kugelman, "Fix the Link to Pakistan, Bond With India", The New York Times, 23 January 2015

C Raja Mohan, "The Great Game Folio: Obama and Pakistan", The Indian Express, 21 January 2015

Harsh V Pant, "The US’s new warmth towards India is chilling news for Pakistan", The National, 21 January 2015

Sri Lanka

Opinion Pieces

Mangala Samaraweera, "Beginning of a new era", The Hindu, 22 January 2015

Kelum Bandara, "The need of the hour", Daily Mirror Online, 22 January 2015

Lynn Ockersz, ""Sri Lanka’s foreign policy: introducing balance and proportion", The Island, 21 January 2015

K Godage, "Winning the hearts and minds of Tamils", Daily Mirror Online, 21 January 2015

Lanin Fernando, "First 100 days: A short list of priorities", Daily Mirror Onlines, 19 January 2015

Ranga Jayasuriya, "Expose the old regime or risk its return", Daily Mirror Online, 19 January 2015

N Sathiya Moorthy, "Election results and Executive Presidency", Daily Mirror Online, 19 January 2015

< class="brown12verdana">Contributors:

Afghanistan : Aryaman Bhatnagar;
Bangladesh, Maldives & Sri Lanka : N Sathiya Moorthy;
Myanmar & Bhutan : Mihir Bhonsale;
India: Kaustav Dhar Chakrabarti and Manmath Goel;
Nepal : Pratnashree Basu;
Pakistan : Taruni Kumar

The views expressed above belong to the author(s). ORF research and analyses now available on Telegram! Click here to access our curated content — blogs, longforms and interviews.


Anasua Basu Ray Chaudhury

Anasua Basu Ray Chaudhury

Anasua Basu Ray Chaudhury is Senior Fellow with ORF’s Neighbourhood Initiative. She is the Editor, ORF Bangla. She specialises in regional and sub-regional cooperation in ...

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