MonitorsPublished on Jul 08, 2011
As China exerts greater pressure on the Communists-led Government in Nepal to curb all anti-Chinese activities emanating from its soil, those Tibetan refugees wanting to transit Nepal or seeking refugee status are having rough days ahead.
Nepal: Mounting pressure on Tibetan refugees
< class="heading1">Analysis

As China exerts greater pressure on the Communists-led Government in Nepal to curb all anti-Chinese activities emanating from its soil, those Tibetan refugees wanting to transit Nepal or seeking refugee status are having rough days ahead. On July 6, the Nepalese authorities prevented Tibetans from celebrating their spiritual leader Dalai Lama’s 76th birthday over concerns that the gatherings would turn anti-Chinese. Reportedly, hundreds of riot police blocked the Tibetans from entering a school on the northern edge of Kathmandu where the celebrations were planned. Earlier last week, the Jhalanath Government issued warnings that the police would not tolerate any anti-China protests.

Three days before the Dalai Lama’s birthday, almost four dozen Tibetans were taken into custody as the police intensified a crackdown on the Tibetan Diaspora in Kathmandu. Some 39 Tibetans were arrested from Boudha in the capital, an area housing shrines sacred to Buddhists and home to a large number of Tibetans, including monks. Last week, in another sign of greater restrictions, police prevented followers from publicly celebrating the 27thbirthday of another Tibetan religious leader, the Karmapa. It was the first time that the Karmapa’s birthday celebrations were disrupted in the country. The organisers were told not to parade photographs of the Karmapa and the Dalai Lama and the ’Tibetan national flag’ or banners. They were also asked not to sing the ’Tibetan national anthem’.

The crackdown coincided with the arrival of the new Chinese envoy to Nepal. The newly-appointed Ambassador, Yang Houlan, upon his arrival on June 18, called on UCPN (Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal ’Prachanda’ and Home Minister Krishna Bahadur Mahara to request them to prevent any anti-China protests of Tibetans. In response, the Home Minister, who was the foreign department chief of the Maoist party before joining the Government, assured the envoy that the ministry would play necessary role in "discouraging and preventing" protests against China from any groups in the country.

Going by the "One-China Policy" that states that Taiwan and Tibet are "inalienable parts of Chinese territory", Nepal has been saying that it cannot allow protests against any friendly nation, including China, on its territory. But clearly, the Government is heavily bending to the pressures from its northern neighbour, which has now found a close ally in the Maoists sharing power all over again.

In the past, the Nepalese Government had not treated Tibetan refugees this way. Their harassment over the past few months is in sharp contrast to Nepal’s earlier position when it adopted leniency towards them. Kathmandu also used to willingly allow work by foreign governments and humanitarian organisations in resettling the first wave of Tibetan refugee influx in 1959, following the Lhasa Uprising, to 1986. Nepal then viewed the setting up of temporary settlements for the refugee as an efficient solution to a potentially serious long-drawn crisis. It invited the International Committee of the Red Cross in May 1960 to establish emergency relief programmes for the refugees. These programs were funded by the US Agency for International Development.

Nepal tolerated the refugees for it could not enforce a strict border control and did not perceive them as a threat. Also, during the Cultural Revolution in China, very few refugees arrived in Nepal. But the 1986 treaty between two countries significantly restricted the Tibetans to travel to or pass through Nepal. In 1989, again due to Chinese demands, Nepal initiated a strict border control policy and said that it would not absorb Tibetan refugees. It declared all asylum-seekers, with the exception of pre-1989 Tibetan population, as illegal immigrants.

However, the same year Nepal entered into a gentleman’s agreement with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Government-of-Tibet-in-Exile. According to the agreement, Tibetans apprehended by the police within Nepal’s borders would be detained but turned to the Department of Immigration, who in turn would turn contact UNHCR for their smooth travel.

In an effort to please the Chinese, the Nepali Government shut down Tibetan Refugee Welfare Office in Kathmandu in 2005. The then Prachanda-led Government in April 2008 crushed anti-Olympic protests in the capital and stationed security personnel in Everest Base camp region. The Nepalese authorities, again acting under pressure from Beijing, did not allow the refugees to participate in the election of their new prime minister in March this year, stating that it was an unlawful activity.

Where does this leave the refugees?

The Government data has shown that there are some 20,000 refugees living in 12 settlements across Nepal. However, the exact number of the refugees can never be known. Some estimates suggest that there are 30,000 Tibetans in Kathmandu alone. With the rise in the refugee population, and given the lack of education and job opportunities, the plight of this lot is only worsening by the day.

In 1990, the Government imposed a ban on issuing refugee cards. While the Government has provided more than 76,000 refugee cards to Bhutanese refugees, it has not issued cards to Tibetans since 1990, according the UNHCR. While the Nepalese Citizen Act of 2006 should theoretically give Tibetans married to Nepali people the right to a citizenship card if they renounced their previous citizenship, the Government has maintained that Tibetans, especially those who arrived after 1990, have no legal right to be in the country regardless of marriage.

Thus, the reality of citizenship, refugee status or even safe passage through Nepal, have become even more problematic for the Tibetan refugees now. In December 2009, the new interim Government in Kathmandu reached a cooperation pledge with Beijing that increased China’s annual financial assistance to approximately 1.5 billion Nepalese rupees. China has agreed to promote the export of Nepali products and will participate in key areas of infrastructure development including hydropower, tourism and agro-based industries. It has also pledged tariff reductions, agricultural trainings and other strategies to aid in poverty relief programs.

The dangers of inadequate protection for Tibetan refugees has been detailed in a new report of ICT (International Campaign for Tibet) released on June 20. It criticised the Nepal Government’s action against the Free Tibet Movement, especially the forced return of the refugees or their handing over to the Chinese authorities. The ICT has argued that such acts were against international customary law.

Last year in June, a group of seven Tibetans, including a seven year-old girl and a 12 year-old boy, were pursued through Nepalese territory by Chinese armed police. In July, there were reports of forcible return of three Tibetans, apprehended and flown to Tibet in a helicopter accompanied by a Nepali politician. Indications are clear -Nepal wants to keep China happy and apart from that its interest in its Tibetan population is negligible.

Can Nepal afford inattention?

Nepal is neither a signatory to the 1951 UN Convention on Refugees, nor has it signed the 1967 Protocol. But it certainly has a responsibility, which it cannot shy away from. The Government must denounce refoulement at once and formulate a formal protection policy for the Tibetan refugees living in Nepal and those wanting to enter India. While retaining the monitoring role at the border region, Nepal government could seek a bigger role for UNHCR for trainings and to intervene on emergency basis.

Under the circumstances, only a new head-count alone would give some clear idea about the number of Tibetan refugees in the country, as those born after 1990 and even others have not been registered with the Government. Inattention and apathy could prove disastrous not only for the refugees but also for Nepal, as without a clear data and clearer means to meet the basic needs of the burgeoning refugee population, Nepal could face problems that the nation can do without.

(The author is an Associate Fellow at Observer Research Foundation)

< class="heading1">Country Reports

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Govt promises infrastructure development, fiscal discipline

The Government has unveiled its policies and programmes for the coming fiscal year 2011-12, emphasising on development of infrastructure with the main focus on transportation and hydropower to spur economic activities in the country. In his address to Parliament, President Ram BaranYadav said that the Government would also attempt to establish financial discipline by amending the existing laws and adopting new measures including strengthening regulatory measures and institutions.

The policies and programs include the completion of much-touted Kathmandu-Tarai fast track road and Mid-Hill Highway besides accelerating postal highway and North-South Highways to foster trade, tourism and economic activities in the country. The Government has also announced a policy to replaceg the manual ropeway river-crossings with suspension bridges and thle construction of a tunnel route from the Oil Depot at Thankot to Jhaple River to ease the traffic congestion in Nagdhunga-Naubise portion of the Tribhuwan Highway. The President’s speech also gave priority to the development of railway and waterway in the country.

"Programmes will be conducted in a coordinated way to solve the problems of road, electricity, telephone, drinking water, waste management and traffic management in major cities including Kathmandu," the President said. The Government has thus promised to encourage apartment housing by amending existing laws and policies besides regularly monitoring construction sites. The government has also announced to initiate development and construction works on the proposed Gautam Buddha, Pokhara, Janakpur and Surkhet regional international airports and a second international airport in Nijgadh, Bara, to strengthen domestic and international air connectivity.

Amid increasing power shortage and rising power demands, the government has announced to formulate a master plan for the development of hydropower in the country. In order to ascertain the total hydropower generation potential, a study will be commissioned this year, which will be updated every ten years. The process of granting license for hydropower projects will be made scientific and transparent. "One door unit will be established for facilitating the implementation of projects and Nepal Electricity Authority, Electricity Development Department and Water and Energy Commission will be restructured in a timely manner," the policy and programs stated.

The Government would also prepare a master plan to strengthen the electricity supply system across the country. Under the program of "Light for All", a master plan on electrification will be prepared and "People’s Desire, Bright City" programme will also be implemented by setting up street lamps in the Kathmandu Valley and other major cities.

To enhance the involvement of local institutions and people, "People’s Hydro Power Programme" will be launched in an effective manner, the President said.

In order to promote investment-friendly environment, maximum efforts will be made to gradually reduce the cost of business transaction," said the Government in its policies and programmes for the coming fiscal. The Government has also announced that the revenue policy will be reviewed to help increase investment and promote exports and the Revenue Board will be constituted for effective revenue administration.

In a major policy departure to lure more savings from the informal to the formal sectors, the Government has announced to amend the existing system of obligatory declaration of income source in financial transactions and enact additional laws to make all financial transactions transparent as per the international standards. As per the existing provision, income source must be declared while depositing over rupees one million in a bank or a financial institution.

The Government has also announced to bring wilful defaulters of bank loans and those who divert loans to areas other than those for which they are sanctioned by banks and financial institutions, within the scope of legal action. The Government has also expressed commitment to take stringent legal actions against those involved in revenue leakage and revenue fraud through the use of duplicate VAT bills.

In order to regulate and monitor economic crime control and money laundering, the Government has announced to formulate necessary policy and legal and institutional arrangements in line with international standards by strengthening mechanism such as Money Laundering Investigation Department and Fiscal Information Unit.
< class="text11verdana">Source:, July 3, 2011

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Ex-king laments futile sacrifice

Former king Gyanendra Shah has expressed dissatisfaction with the minimal progress made in creating a peaceful and prosperous Nepal after he gave up the throne. Addressing a news conference on his 65th birthday, Gyanendra said "I have not witnessed any fruitful result after my sacrifice of the throne in the hope of achieving sustainable peace progress, full-fledged democracy and national unity." He however clarified that delay did not necessarily mean denial and therefore "we should be optimistic about the future".

Family members, well-wishers and a large gathering of followers and royalists greeted Gyanendra on his birthday. They offered flowers and gifts to their former ruler.
< class="text11verdana">Source: The Himalayan Times, July 7, 2011

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">60 housemaids sent home from Kuwait

The Nepali Embassy in Kuwait has sent 60 run-away housemaids back to Nepal. The women workers had been taking shelter at the embassy after running away from their work places due to mistreatment.

Similarly, over 40 such run-away maids who had been taking shelter at the embassy for a long time, were also sent back home over the past two weeks. . Likewise, 48 maids had been sent back through deportation centres three weeks ago. Reports said that, 95 percent of these maids were illegally trafficked via third countries at different times.

According to the embassy, hardly 15 percent of them possessed passports while others were issued travel documents by the Embassy free of cost. "Most of the trafficked maids possess either tampered or fake and forged passports when they enter," the embassy said in a statement.
< class="text11verdana">Source:, July 1, 2011

Notes: Kuwait announced a four-month amnesty in February for illegal foreign workers to leave the country without fines. The Embassy of Nepal in Kuwait has issued over 3,500 travel documents since then, to male and female workers from the country who had run away from their work places, and were staying and working illegally in other places. Although there is no official data, it is estimated that there are over 52,000 Nepali workers in Kuwait, mostly in the domestic sector. The Kuwait Government put their number at 40,000, in May.

Kuwait had earlier suspended the entry of Nepali workers in the organized sector except under government contracts. The suspension was withdrawn last year after the new Embassy of Nepal was opened. < class="heading12boldGeorgia">Teachers’ strike hits Kathmandu schools

Public and private schools in Kathmandu Valley remained closed on Friday, on a call given by the Nepal Educational Republic Forum. The one-day closure affected hundreds of thousands of students.

The Forum has been demanding that the temporary teachers be made permanent, teachers of institutional schools be provided salary and allowance at par with their counterparts in community schools, appointment letters be strictly enforced, the policy that categories schools under the Company Act be scrapped and vacant posts of teachers be immediately fulfilled.

Earlier, the Forum had shut down schools of Kathmandu Valley on June 13 to press its demands.
< class="text11verdana">Source: Rastriya Samachar Samiti, July 8, 2011

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">FNJ to launch fresh protest against assault

The Federation of Nepalese Journalists (FNJ) ended the two-week long second-phase protest against the assault of Biratnagar-based journalist Khila Nath Dhakal of the daily, Ngarik.

According to FNJ president Shiva Gaule, the next phase of the protest would be to pressure the stakeholders for action against the attackers and Biratnagar president of UML youth wing, Youth Association Nepal, Parsuram Basnet, who is the main accused in the incident.

The authorities have failed to apprehend Basnet, who is reportedly under political protection of some top UML leaders, even after three weeks of the incident.
< class="text11verdana">Source:, July 1, 2011

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">70 killed in Karachi violence

Political and ethnic violence flared up in Pakistan’s largest city of Karachi with 70 people losing their lives in target killings and dozens getting injured, as tension escalated between the ruling People’s Party of Pakistan (PPP) and its estranged ally the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), which dominates in Karachi.

The escalation of violence came a week after the MQM broke ranks with the PPP-led Government in southern Sindh Province, and opted to sit in the Opposition. The MQM leadership announced a peaceful protest against targeting of its workers. Altaf Hussain, MQM’s leader had earlier warned of strike calls "until the Government is brought down." The tragic developments highlighted the growing ethnic division between the Urdu-speaking MQM and Pashtun-speaking Awami National Party (ANP), which is in alliance with the PPP at the Centre.

Karachi, home to more than 18 million people, has a long history of ethnic, religious and sectarian violence. It was a main target of al Qaeda-linked militants after the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States, when Pakistan joined the US-led campaign against militancy, and foreigners were attacked in the city several times.
< class="text11verdana">Source: The Dawn, 08 July 2011; Reuters, July 8, 2011

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Pakistan supports ’Afghan-led’ reconciliation

Pakistan has told the UN Security Council that it backed an ’Afghan-led’ reconciliation process that will help in bringing different opposition groups, including the Afghan Taliban, into political mainstream to promote peace in the war-torn country. Afghanistan set for a mid-July launch of its two-year transition process.

Speaking at the 15-member council, Pakistan’s Ambassador Abdullah Hussain Haroon reaffirmed that Pakistan’s commitment to peace in Afghanistan was "unwavering."

"The cause of regional and international peace will not be served if Afghanistan becomes a theatre of proxy wars or its land is used for extra-territorial subversive activities," said Hussain in a debate on Afghanistan in the Security Council.

The debate in the Security Council followed last month’s announcement by US President Barack Obama that 33,000 US troops would be withdrawn from Afghanistan by the summer of 2012 or by September at the latest. The first 5,000 would return next month and another 5,000 by the end of the year.
< class="text11verdana">Source: Daily Times, July 8, 2011

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Govt may have sanctioned Shahzad’s death: US

The US military’s top officer, Admiral Mike Mullen, has said that Pakistan’s Government may have sanctioned the killing of journalist Shahzad recently, voicing grave concern over the attack.

Asked about media reports that Islamabad sanctioned or approved the killing of the reporter, Admiral Mike Mullen said: "I haven’t seen anything that would disabuse that report." He said he was "concerned" about the incident and suggested other reporters had suffered a similar fate in the past.

"His (death) isn’t the first. For whatever reason, it has been used as a method historically." While acknowledging that Pakistani officials have denied the government had any role in the death of Syed SaleemShahzad, Mullen said the episode raised worrying questions about the country’s current course.
< class="text11verdana">Source: The Dawn, July 7, 2011

Sri Lanka
< class="heading12boldGeorgia">India’s role vital for Lanka: Govt

Sri Lanka would not be able to achieve its development goals without India which was going to play a vital role in achieving such targets, External Affairs Minister G L Peiris told Parliament, while responding to an adjournment motion. No country could formulate its economic development goals in isolation. Therefore he pointed out that it is vital for Sri Lanka to work with the neighbouring countries to achieve its economic goals.

Prof. Peiris said Sri Lanka would not be able to achieve its set target of becoming a shipping hub in South Asia without the support of India. Therefore he said the shipping industry in Sri Lanka was vastly dependent on India as 70 percent of container transhipment that reach the Colombo Port is from that country. He also said the Colombo Dockyard had managed to secure a massive order from an Indian company to build 11 vessels, costing ULS $ 240 million.

The Minister further stated that India was one of the biggest tourism markets which Sri Lanka was looking to and thereby pointed out that 25 percent of tourists that visit Sri Lanka would be from India by 2015. He said the situation was the same when it came to people to people contacts and thereby said a programme would be launched soon to enable low income groups to visit India on pilgrimages by train.

Minister Peiris also pointed out that the allegation made by the Opposition with regard to the joint statement issued by India and Sri Lanka was false at the conclusion of his visit to New Delhi earlier in the year was wrong. He said no pacts were signed, and it was only a media statement. "The outpouring of venom by the Opposition on India is totally unnecessary," he said adding that 43,000 houses out of 50,000 which India had offered to build would be ready soon.

However, Prof Peiris said, the Government was not afraid of raising its voice whenever necessary, referring to the fishermen’s issue.
< class="text11verdana">Source: Daily Mirror, July04, 2011

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Govt rules out federal solution

Leader of the House Irrigation Minister Nimal Siripal de Silva told Parliament that the Government would never consider federalism a solution to what he described as the national problem. Responding to an observation by UNP Kandy district MP Lakshman Kiriella that the Government should consider a federal solution to the national problem, the Minister said that MP Kiriella’s statement indicated the UNP’s standpoint. "If that is the UNP’s solution then we say clearly that our Government is not ready to bring about a federal solution. We will never consider such a solution," he said.

The Government would bring a solution acceptable to all communities in the country without causing any disharmony, the Minister said. "We are a responsible Government. We are not ready to find solutions in a hurry."

Moving an adjournment motion, TNA parliamentary group leader R Sampanthan reiterated that the Tamil people were willing to live as equal citizens within a united and undivided Sri Lanka. He invited the attention of the House, the Government and the country "to the imperative need to address the core issues of the conflict and to evolve an acceptable political solution that will bring about genuine reconciliation and harmony amongst the different communities and peoples who inhabit Sri Lanka. Indeed, the only way to ensure permanent peace to evolve an acceptable political solution that will address such genuine reconciliation and harmony amongst the different communities and peoples inhabiting Sri Lanka."
< class="text11verdana">Source: The Island, Colombo, 07 July 2011

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Tamils’ protest at Lords

A day-long protest by scores of Tamil youth activists and supporters outside the Lord’s cricket ground where Sri Lanka played England in the third one-day-international drew support from spectators and the general public, including delegates attending the ordination of five new rabbis at the Liberal Jewish Synagogue in front of which the noisy but peaceful demonstration took place. Inside the world famous cricket ground, a youth who raced across the pitch with a Tamil Eelam flag in the middle of the match drew cheers when he dodged the grasps of pursuing stewards, and a round of applause when he was finally caught in front of the MCC pavillion.

A hundred Tamil youth activists and supporters participated in Sunday’s protest, the last of a series organised by the Tamil Youth Organisation (TYO-UK) outside Sri Lanka’s matches in Britain this year to raise awareness of Sri Lanka’s war crimes and call for a boycott of Sri Lankan cricket until the government in Colombo agrees to an international investigation of the atrocities.
< class="text11verdana">Source:, July 4, 2011

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Dutch detectives complete probe in Lanka

The evidence collected during the interviews with former LTTE chief arms procurer Kumaran Pathmanathan alias KP and other former LTTE cadres who are in government custody will be produced in the relevant Dutch Courts in September, an embassy official said yesterday.

The Netherlands Embassy First Secretary Jaco Beerends said 13 former LTTE cadres were interviewed and the Dutch detectives had left the country last week.

He said the evidence would be used in the ongoing case in Oslo where LTTE leader Perinbanayagam Sivaparan alias Nediyavan is accused of involvement in LTTE activities.

Mr. Sivaparan was arrested by the Norwegian police and later released on conditional bail after recording a statement on LTTE activities including fund raising in Netherlands. He was interviewed for two days by Dutch investigators comprising a judge and five lawyers in May later released on conditional bail pending further investigations.

The investigations codenamed "Operation Koninck", which pursued the LTTE money trail finally led to Norway. It was revealed that the funds collected from LTTE sympathisers in Netherlands was sent to Mr. Sivaparan in Norway.
< class="text11verdana">Source: Daily Mirror, July 9, 2011

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">NATO admits killing of women and children in airstrikes

The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) admitted the killing of women and children during an early morning air attack against militants in a remote corner of eastern Afghanistan. The American-led coalition also said it was investigating separate reports of civilian deaths in a nearby province.

The airstrike in Khost Province, which Afghan officials say killed eight children and two women, ignited outrage in neighbouring villages, and could deepen tensions between the Afghan government and Western authorities here.

Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai had given a "last" warning about civilian casualties in May earlier this year. Killing of civilians has been a major bone of contention between the Afghan government and NATO forces.

Mr. Karzai told NATO to stop bombing Afghan homes, or else it would face "unilateral action" from the Afghan government, and that it risked being viewed as a trespasser and occupying force.
< class="text11verdana">Source: The New York Times, 07 July 2011

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Election body to review poll dispute: Karzai

The Independent Election Commission (IEC) of Afghanistan is set to review the ruling of a special court set up by President Hamid Karzai that allegedly overturned results for a quarter of the seats in the country’s parliament.

It is an apparent back down by the Independent Election Commission - which ran the foreign-funded September poll - after it last month rejected the special court and described its cancellation of results as "unprofessional and non-transparent."

The IEC will now review the special court decisions and compare them to its own ballot findings. It will uphold any special court rulings it finds to be correct.

The special court, established by a presidential decree after fraud-marred parliamentary elections last year, ordered 62 lawmakers elected in the September poll to vacate their seats in the 249-seat parliament.
< class="text11verdana">Source: Reuters, 07 July 2011


< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Opposition strike shuts down nation

Life literally stood still in the country this week due to 48 hours strike called by opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP). The two-day long strike left 675 persons injured and 550 people were arrested from all across the country.

People remained off the streets and schools and business establishments were closed. The communication of capital Dhaka with other parts of the country was cut off, paralyzing normalcy.

BNP workers had organsied pickets in various party of the capital. There were some incidents of clashes as the law enforcement agencies approached to remove pickets. In one of such incidents opposition chief whip Zainul Abdin Farroque was injured.

The Opposition had enforced the 48-hour strike against the abolition of caretaker government system.
< class="text11verdana">Source: The Bangladesh Today, July 8, 2011

Notes: The system of caretaker government was instituted by amending the Constitution in 1996 to appoint neutral caretaker administrations to oversee elections. Till date, three elections took place under this system. However, it was scrapped last month after the government said it had allowed the army to take over in January 2007.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Increased security cooperation with India

Indian External Affairs Minister S M Krishna’s visit this week infused new optimism in the India and Bangladesh relations. During his three-day State visit, Krishna said that India attached highest importance to its relations with Bangladesh, a close and friendly neighbour. During his stay, Indian Minister met many important leaders including Prime Minister Shiekh Hasina and Foreign Minister Dr. Dipu Moni.

The two countries agreed to enhance security cooperation and not to allow known insurgent, extremist or terrorist group to use the soil of their respective countries for targeting the other.

The major outcome of the visit included the signing of two bilateral agreements regarding promotion and protection of agreements and movements of Bhutanese vehicles between India and Bangladesh land custom station. The instrument on promotion and protection of investments envisages that National treatment and Most Favoured Nation treatment to be accorded by either country to investments of investors of the other country.
< class="text11verdana">Source: The Daily Star, July 8, 2011/ The Bangladesh Today, July 8, 2011

Notes: The visit is significant as it followed just after the announcement of dates of the visit by Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh. Hence, it was seen as a preparatory to the visit of Dr. Singh. During the visit he held discussion on various bilateral issues. As a result, the visit has raised hope that many longstanding issues will be resolved during Dr. Singh’s visit; most prominent -signing of the agreement of sharing of Teesta River.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Tshogpas conspire to oust Gup

Former Tshogpas of Shongphu Gewog under Trashigang Dzongkhag have asked for the removal from the office of their newly elected Gup, Kinzang Wangdi.

Kinzang Wangdi is a former Gup and was embroiled in corruption charges. The Tshogpas are now planning to take him to court for embezzlement of public funds. A former RangjungTshogpa, ChimiDorji, said the gup made a refund of Nu 92,475 for a case of embezzlement last year. But it was unclear to whom Kinzang Wangdi made the refund.
< class="text11verdana">Source: Bhutan Observer, July 6, 2011

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Maran quits Cabinet

Forced by 2-G investigations into persistent charges of corruption in the allotment of telecom spectrum, DMK Minister Dayanidhi Maran submitted his resignation as Textiles Minister, to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

The Central Bureau of Investigations (CBI) recently hinted at his role in forcing a Chennai-based telecom promoter to sell his stake in Aircel mobile service provider, to a Malaysian firm in 2006, when he was the Telecom Minister. A Singapore-based investor, Sivasankaran, had earlier told the CBI how he was cornered by Maran to sell his stakes in Aircel to another investor, who later stuck a huge business deal, benefitting the Maran family’s Sun TV Group.
< class="text11verdana">Source: Indian Express, July 8, 2011

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Delhi engages South Sudan

A team from New Delhi headed by Vice-President Hamid Ansari visited Juba, the capital, for the inaugural of the newly-created Republic of South Sudan. With India already having a consulate in Juba, the Government is expected to announce, during this visit, that it will be upgraded to an Embassy.

Among the priority areas that New Delhi is likely to focus on are rural development, education, health and also in sectors such as horticulture, animal husbandry, technical training, HRD, hydrocarbons and also de-mining.

South Sudan’s oil assets yield about 1, 00,000 barrels or more and India is keen for a "very substantial engagement" in this sector.
< class="text11verdana">Source: The Indian Express, June 6, 2011

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Parliament panels ’unlawful’

MPs belonging to the breakaway Z-faction of the main opposition Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) threatened to disrupt future sittings of Parliament in protest of last night’s "unlawful sitting," claiming that the revised committee composition voted throughwas not the same proposal agreed upon by parliamentary group (PG) leaders.

At a news conference after the cancellation, DRP Deputy Leader Ilham Ahmed argued that a late night sitting where the decisions were taken was "unlawful" because MPs were informed via text message just two hours before it began.

The Z-DRP MPs objected in particular to the composition of the coveted ’241?? Security Services Committee, which the ruling MDP could potentially control with the support of the two Independents, Ali Mohamed and Ismail Abdul Hameed.

All three Z-DRP MPs strongly criticised DRP Leader Ahmed Thasmeen Ali as "incompetent," reiterating their accusation against the minority leader of "making deals with the government."
< class="text11verdana">Source: Miadhu, July 8, 2011

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">DRP allies with JP, moves court against Gayoom faction

The Council of the main Opposition Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) passed a resolution to join in alliance with Opposition Jumhooree Party (JP), presenting a formidable coalition in the Peoples’ Majlis.

The alliance would unite DRP, People’s Alliance and the JP, with a total of 34 seats in Parliament, equal in number to that of the ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP, after ht

Meanwhile, the DRP has filed a case in the Civil Court against the dismissed DRP Deputy Leader Umar Naseer and leading figures of Gayyoom’s faction for using DRP logo and seal without the authorized permission of the party council.

DRP said that Gayyoom’s faction has violated the Article 10 of the Political Party Act. DRP Media Cordinator, Ali Solih said that the case was filed in Civil Court because it is illegal to use the logo of any political party without the party’s official authorization. He said that the party hopes that justice will be served in Court against the miscreants for their unauthorized use of party logo and seal.

DRP Leader ThasmeenAli stated that the party council will take the required action against miscreants who misuse the party’s logo to achieve their own political agendas. He said that it is very un-ethical of Gayyoom’s faction to use the logo without the official authorization of the council.

President of the Elections Commission, Fuwad Thaufeeg also recently said that it was illegal to use the logo of any political party without the party’s official authorization.
< class="text11verdana">Source: Miadhu, July 8, 2011

< class="brown12verdana">Contributors:

Afghanistan & Pakistan: Avinash Paliwal;
Bhutan: Sidharth Raimedhi;
India: Akhilesh Variar;
Nepal: Akanshya Shah;
Maldives & Sri Lanka: N SathiyaMoorthy;

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