MonitorsPublished on Sep 02, 2011
The current discourse on the creation of new provinces in Pakistan reflects the limitations of the nation's political structures and social fabric.
Pakistan and intra-provincial separatism
< class="heading1">Analysis

The current discourse on the creation of new provinces in Pakistan reflects the limitations of the nation’s political structures and social fabric. This move is considered to be a political initiative of the ruling Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Muslim League (Quaid), or PML(Q), for consolidating their respective vote-banks in the existing Provinces of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK). As a result, the debate remains highly skewed towards party politics, neglecting the authenticity of issues such as cultural isolation, lack of development and governance-deficit, which these region face. Even in political terms, creation of new Provinces might provide an opportunity to break the deeply centralised power structures that create oligarchies or political lobbies in highly tight-knit societies of Pakistan, but that again is not an issue in the current discourse.

The PPP and PM (Q) had submitted a resolution in the Punjab Assembly Secretariat last month for the creation of a new Seraiki/Bahawalpur province out of the southern regions of Punjab. There have also been demands for creating a separate Karachi province in Sindh and merging the Pakhtun areas of Balochistan with the KPK. The PML(Q) has also been proposing the creation of a separate province in the Hazara region of the KPK. As a result, most critics of these two parties have blamed them for dividing the country over petty political motives. The logic indeed is flawless - with the electoral contours of Pakistan being defined primarily by the kinship networks of the Pakistani society, creation of new provinces on ethnic and cultural lines with developmental schemes accompanying them will undoubtedly help in consolidating vote-banks for the PPP and PML (Q).

In its tussle against the PML (Nawaz) that has a strong foothold in northern and central Punjab, the PPP is using the Seraiki separatist sentiments to consolidate its base in south Punjab as well as Sindh. Similarly, the PPP is providing tactic support to the PML (Q) in the Hazara regions of KPK that historically have been the stronghold of the PML (N). Although the position of the Awami National Party (ANP) is quite equivocal on the issue of a Hazara province, it has shown flexibility on the issue by moving beyond its hard-line position of indivisibility of the KPK. It is well known that creating a new province in KPK would either require integrating the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) with the former, or at least the Pakhtun belt of Balochistan with the KP, but the ANP does not seem to have a problem. Apart from electoral politics, however, there is a lot more to this issue.

With an increase in population as well as intra-provincial inequalities, there are strong administrative grounds to work on the governance element of the provinces. Punjab alone has a population of 100 million, governing which has been an onerous task for the bureaucracy. It is not surprising to see that in face of grossly inadequate development, as most of it is restricted to the urban centres of Pakistan, South Punjab with a population of more than 15 million Seraiki-speaking people is witnessing a strong separatist movement. In a recent statement on the situation in Punjab, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani categorically said: "When Rs 75 billion would be allocated for one district and the others would be ignored, people would feel a sense of deprivation." Add on to this the relative under-representation of South Punjab in the bureaucracy of the province. All these issues contribute in augmenting the dynamism of the linguistic and cultural identities that in turn intensifies the separatist movement within the province.

There are, however, impediments as well. Though a proper feasibility study of these provinces is lacking, a Seraiki province seems to be impractical given its agrarian base and location vis-à-vis water resources. The Hazara province with its rich natural resources and revenue generation mechanisms is a highly feasible project. In contrast to this, the Pakhtun belt of Balochistan has an estimated 200 million tonnes of coal reserves in the Zhob and Loralai regions and earns a lot of revenue from trade with Afghanistan. As a result, its economy would neither improve nor worsen regardless of whether it remains in Balochistan or is merged with the KPK. Moreover, limited administrative experience and absence of finances will add to the complexities, just as the 47 devolved subjects of the concurrent list that the new provinces will have to deal with.

Nonetheless, having been ruled by military or quasi-military governments since 1977, the political structures of Pakistan have become highly centralised and have often denied equal space to people of different and multiple identities under the supranational garb. While the events of 1971 and the creation of Bangladesh ruptured the supranational discourse of Pakistan being a single unit, the federal debate even after that point got skewed in terms of Punjab versus the rest of Pakistan. Not surprisingly, as Prime Minister, the late Zulfikar Ali Bhutto had to order the Army to crush the Baloch and Pakhtun separatist movements. Even under President Musharraf’s rule, the provincial identities were undermined impudently with the imposition of the centrally governed local government system. Systemic changes, however, are being made slowly. Although not till long ago even the thought of creating a new province was discouraged, the recently introduced 18th Amendment to the Constitution has opened up space for such a debate.

Creation of such provinces, or at least a debate on these issues, is an important step ahead for Pakistan if its democratic structures are to be strengthened. Despite the political undertones of this issue, it is essential to move beyond the vicious political circle and work towards removing the systemic restrictions. This, however, can only be done if the discourse includes deeper issues of identity, governance and power structures and views the creation of new provinces from these lenses instead.

(The writer is a Research Assistant at Observer Research Foundation)

< class="heading1">Country Reports

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Karachi violence: court, Parliament step in

The Supreme Court, while hearing a suo moto petition on the Karachi killings, has directed the Government to appraise the court of the reasons behind and perpetrators of the violence in the port city. At the same time, Parliament has set up a committee to look into the violence. The Speaker of the National Assembly has constituted a 17-member committee to look into this aspect that has affected normal life in both Quetta and Karachi. The committee members are representatives of the ANP, MQM, PML-Q, JUI, Muslim League and the PML-N.

On the Sunday, 4 August 2011, security agencies carried out a seven-hour house-to-house search operation in the Lyari area of Karachi. Despite opposition from the local populace the security forces, Rangers apprehended a number of suspects. The Rangers destroyed two torture cells and have seized a huge cache of weapons.

The Prime Minister Gilani expressed satisfaction on the way Interior MinistgerRehaman Malik been overseeing the violence control measures that have been initiated in Karachi and said that the Government will apprehend every last criminal in the city. At the same time, the Prime Minister while addressing a news conference said that the army is not a permanent remedy in handling law and order issues like it is in Karachi.
< class="text11verdana">Source:, 27, 28, 29 August 2011,, 29 August, 2011

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Training for Somali pirates

Somali pirates are being trained in Pakistan to carry out a proxy war against India. Though Indian security agencies had been hinting at a Pakistani link to Somali pirates for long, material evidence to support this assertion has been recovered only recently.

The evidence was obtained from nine foreign nationals caught from a hijacked Iranian vessel, MV Nafis-1, by the Indian Navy off Mumbai on August 14. The vessel was brought to Porbandar on August 15 and those arrested ? five Yemenis, two Tanzanians, one Kenyan and one Somali national ? were handed over to the local police.
< class="text11verdana">Source:, 29 August 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Help to fight terror in China

President Asif Ali Zardari while visiting the Chinese city of Urumqi for the inaugural of the trade expo has promised to work closely with China in fighting terrorism. This was with respect to the Chinese concerns about the sprouting out ofviolence affecting the western Province of Xinjiang, suspected to have been orchestrated by members of the separatist East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) are of the ethnic Uighur community.

ETIM members received their training in Pakistan before moving into China to launch their operations.
< class="text11verdana">Source:, 31 August 2011, 1 September 2011,, 1 September 2011

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Limitations on prosecuting terror suspects: US

The ULS State Department’s 2010 report on terrorism has noted that Pakistan’s legal system was not in a position to prosecute terrorist suspects. The report noted that a third of the accused produced before the courts are acquitted.

These include numerous high profile terrorists including the perpetrators of the 26/11 Mumbai carnage of 2008. The report also noted that Pakistan’s weak implementation of UN Security Council resolution which lists banned terrorist organisations.
< class="text11verdana">Source:, 31 August, 2011,, 1 September. 2011

Sri Lanka
< class="heading12boldGeorgia">No more minorities, says President

The prime objective at the moment of the SLFP-led UPFA Government was to convince the Tamil, Muslim and other communities that they were not minorities and that Sri Lanka is one unified nation, President Mahinda Rajapaksa has said.

Addressing the 60th anniversary of the SLFP, at Temple Trees, President Rajapaksa further said that the Government was never obliged to give ransoms or a part of the country to anyone to achieve the concept of one nation. He added that the SLFP was strong enough to not fall prey to separatist elements that tried to raise their ugly heads once again.
< class="text11verdana">Source: Daily Mirror Online, September 02, 2011

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">JVP, TNA talk of illegal detentions

A legal lacuna exists with the lapsing of the state of emergency on Tuesday, as the Government had failed to print the Gazette notification, notifying the new regulations imposed under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA), the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) and the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) have charged, separately.

This had led to a question of legality over the detention of some 5,000 LTTE suspects and the existence of the High Security Zones (HSZ), they said.

The JVP and the TNA, which agitated for the lifting of the state of emergency, charged that the government had failed to issue the gazette notification on these regulations even by yesterday, and as such the detention of the LTTE suspects and the continuation of the HSZs were illegal.

However, former Attorney-General Mohan Peiris who drafted these regulations on behalf of the Government countered the arguments saying the regulations were in force from the time they were announced by the Government. Peiris retired on August 30 on which day the emergency regulations were lifted.
< class="text11verdana">Source: Daily Mirror Online, September 03, 2011

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">US-Taliban talks wantonly scuttled

Afghan officers scuttled the direct talks between the US and the Taliban as they feared that the secret talks could significantly denigrate the position of President Hamid Karzai. The deliberately leaked reports by officials in the Presidential Palace propelled the chief Taliban negotiator Tayyab Aga into hiding and also ruined a good chance to make direct contact with Mullah Mohammed Omar, the linchpin who could put an end to the Taliban fight.

In another instance that could only further deepen the level of mistrust, British International Development Minister Andrew Mitchell unintentionally left classified documents on view for photographers while he left Prime Minister David Cameron’s office. The notes mention that London should welcome President Karzai’s intention not to seek a third term as President.
< class="text11verdana">Source: Associated Press, August 30, 2011, September 1, 2011

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">US lost $ 30 b to poor planning

According to the Commission on Wartime Contracting (CWC), an independent and bipartisan legislative commission, US lost almost $30 billion in the last decade due to poor planning, inadequate competition, substandard contract management, over-reliance on contractors and fraud during contingency operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Through an opinion piece in the Washington Post, the authors warned that there could be further loss of investment even after the US left the two countries. They cited cases such as the spending of $300 million on a power plant in Kabul and $11.4 billion on facilities for the Afghan security services that seems unsustainable.
< class="text11verdana">Source:, August 29, 2011


< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Exchanging enclaves with India

India and Bangladesh are all set to exchange enclaves between the countries during Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Dhaka, scheduled for September 6. This initiative will put an end to the suffering and uncertainty of the landlocked people, who have remained stateless for 64 years.

The enclave people both in India and Bangladesh will have the right of staying where they are, as nationals of the state to which the areas are transferred.

Enclaves 162 -111 belonging to India are located inside Bangladesh and 51 belonging to Bangladesh are situated inside India. The enclave dwellers would have the right to choose their citizenship as per the agreement. A protocol might be singed between India and Bangladesh during Manmohan Singh’s visit to Dhaka to resolve the border issues.
< class="text11verdana">Source: New Age, August 29, 2011

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Indian NSA in Dhaka

India’s National Security Adviser (NSA) Shivshankar Menon visited Bangladesh this week to discuss with top Bangladesh officials about the agenda for Prime Minister’s meeting with his Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina on September 6. During his stay in Dhaka, Menon held talks with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s Economic Affairs Adviser Mashiur Rahman and International Affairs Adviser GowherRizvi. He also met Sheikh Hasina. The visit was described to be fruitful.
< class="text11verdana">Source: The Daily star, August 29, 2011

Note: During Prime Minister Singh’s visit, India and Bangladesh are expected to sign about a dozen deals in different areas, including water-sharing, usage of seaports, connectivity, import of electricity and land boundary. There is great optimism around Dr. Singh’s visit; it is likely to script new beginning for India and Bangladesh relations.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Growth target for solar energy

Rural areas of Bangladesh are to see an increase in solar electricity generation as part of an ambitious plan to boost the provision of power from renewable sources.

The Government has set a target of generating 500 megawatts (MW) of green energy - almost ten times the current amount - by 2015, in an attempt to narrow the gap between current supplies of grid electricity and the needs of the country’s 160-million people.

Only 49 percent of Bangladesh’s population has access to electricity from the national grid. Fossil fuels account for almost all the current capacity of 5,500 MW, with renewable sources - mostly solar power - contributing just 55 MW.
< class="text11verdana">Source: AlertNet, August 31, 2011

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">PM alarmed at climate change

Prime Minister of Bhutan, Jigmi Thinley, has issued a dire warning about the impact of climate change in the Himalayan region, saying it could wreck the tiny kingdom’s ambitious plans to be a world leader in hydropower. The Prime Minister said that "the glaciers are retreating very rapidly, some are even disappearing. The flow of water in our river system is fluctuating in ways that are very worrying. In the summer they overflow their banks in a way that used to never happen in the past and in the winter they shrivel and almost dry up. The climate is changing, global warming is real and the impact on our hydrology is very severe."

Bhutan is already a carbon-neutral electricity producer by going in for hydro-power. The increase in melt water caused by warmer summers has also led to the creation of lakes high in the mountains that threaten people in the valleys below. The government is building an early warning system to alert authorities to any possible breach of the natural dams that hold back the water. The changing level of flow of water from the Himalayan glacier may jeopardise ambitious hydroelectric power plans to raise capacity seven-fold from a current peak of about 1,500 megawatts (MW) from four plants, to 10,000 MW by adding another 10 projects by 2020.

By selling electricity to energy-starved neighbour India, the aid-dependent country had hoped to become economically self-sufficient by 2018. But then the Prime Minister said that the variation in the water flow between the summer and winter months in has increased dramatically in the past few years. This has resulted in Bhutan importing electricity from India during the winter seasons.
< class="text11verdana">Source: AFP, 23 August, 2011

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">New hydro-power projects

The pre-feasibility studies have been completed for the two major hydropower projects outside the 10,000 MW plan, Rotpazhong project in Mongar and Khomachhu project in Lhuentse.

Initial study’s indicated that Rotpazhong and Khomachhu projects had an installed capacity of 400 MW and 336 MW respectively. However, the pre-feasibility studies showed that Rotpazhong has the capacity to generate 1,230 MW of electricity and Khomachhu, 363 MW.

The total cost of the Khomachhu project is estimated to be US$ 473.6 million and the cost of generating electricity, Nu 2.77 per KW. The total estimation of Rotpazhong is US$ 1,686.5 million and the cost of generation, Nu 2.57 KW.

The pre-feasibility study of the two projects has been done by Norplan, a Norway-based engineering and development consultancy company. The study, which began in 2009, was financed through a grant from the government of Norway.
< class="text11verdana">Source:, 29 August, 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Additional transit routes

India has granted Bhutan with 11 more transit routes to conduct its trade. This is in addition to the existing 16 transit routes. Four have been prioritised. In addition to this Bhutan will have access to seven more transits routes on a seasonal basis.

The Economic Affairs Minister Sonam P Wangdi said that the new routes adiwuate infrastructure like land customs station, immigration office and facilities like banks before they can become fully operationalised. This could take three to four months for the routes to be operational. The new routes will also help Bhutan export products at competitive prices with enhanced proximity to markets and reduced transportation cost.
< class="text11verdana">Source:, 26 August, 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Scholarship for Sanskrit, Pali, Ayurveda

The Ministry of Education on the 25 August 2011 has launched an undergraduate scholarship programme called ’Queen’s Endowment for Cultural Studies’ in disciplines of Sanskrit, Pali, astrology, ayurvedic medicine, fine arts and music. The annual scholarship scheme is part of the nation’s celebration of the royal wedding on October 13 this year.

Under the scholarship programme, Bhutanese students will be admitted to reputed institutes in India, Sri Lanka, or Bhutan. Education MinisterLyonpo Thakur S Powdyel, said the scholarship will be provided for a long time to come. At the launch of the scholarship, Lyonpo Thakur S Powdyel said art, literature, music, drama, philosophy, and other such creative subjects, respond to the more sublime and edifying impulses of humans and societies.
< class="text11verdana">Source:, 26 August, 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">High Court stays Rajiv Gandhi killers’ hanging

The three condemned prisoners in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case got a reprieve on Tuesday (August 30, 2011), with the Madras High Court staying the execution, due to be carried out on September 9.

A Division Bench passed the interim order on petitions by Perarivalan, Santhan and Murugan. As the matter involved the consideration of a question of law, the petitions were being admitted and there would be an interim injunction, the Bench said.
< class="text11verdana">Source: The Hindu, August 31, 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Suspected Chinese spy-ship near Andamans Islands

A suspected Chinese spy ship apparently camouflaged as a fishing trawler has been detected by the Navy near the Andaman and Nicobar Islands to possibly keep an eye on Indian military activities in the area.

The incident reinforced the assessment in the country of an increasing Chinese presence and interest in Indian Ocean Region and the Bay of Bengal in the recent past.

The ship was detected nearly four months ago in the international waters and may have been used to track Indian missiles tests and movement of other aircraft and warships in the region, Navy sources said here today.
< class="text11verdana">Source: The Hindustan Times, August 30, 2011

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">$ 100-billion trade target with China

India and China will kick-start discussions next month covering a spectrum of sectors aimed at doubling bilateral trade to $100 billion (Rs 460,000 crore) by 2015 under a ’Strategic Economic Dialogue’ - a move seen as an attempt to mend a relationship strained by disputes between the world’s greatest emerging economic powers.

Planning Commission Deputy Chairperson Montek Singh Ahluwalia will lead a delegation to Beijing in September-end to define the broad contours of a framework for enhanced economic cooperation in the energy, steel, telecommunication, banking, technology and pharmaceutical sectors, among others.

Zhang Ping, Chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission - China’s equivalent of the Planning Commission - will lead discussions on behalf of the world’s fastest-growing economy during the two-day talks beginning September 26.
< class="text11verdana">Source: The Hindustan Times, August 31, 2011

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">US presidential aspirant wants trade pact

A Republican presidential hopeful has suggested that the US negotiate a bilateral free trade agreement with India to strengthen its relationship with a friend critical to America’s success in the 21stcentury.Jon Huntsman, former Governor of Utah, who resigned as US Ambassador to China last April hoping to challenge President Barack Obama in 2012, Thursday proposed talks with India as part of his job plan and fix the US economy.

As 95 percent of the world’s customers live outside US. borders, and with the US party to only 17 of more than 300 trade agreements worldwide, he said, "Opening more markets for American businesses should be a common sense tool to spark immediate growth." Huntsman said he would make three trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama a top priority.

"Washington must also immediately start discussions with India to end in a bilateral free trade agreement strengthening our relationship with a friend who will prove to be critical to America’s success in the 21st century," he said.
< class="text11verdana">Source:, September 2, 2011

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Pakistan to grant MFN status?

Pakistan has agreed to grant the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status to India, something which New Delhi had been demanding for many years, a media report said on Sunday. A senior official of the ministry of trade said on the condition of anonymity that the status of MFN would be granted during the current year, Urdu daily Jung reported.

Pakistan has in turn asked for immediate lifting of non-tariff restriction on its exports to India.Sources said that trade and commerce Minister Makhdoom Amin Fahim would soon announce basic changes in Pakistan’s trade policy.

A series of steps are being contemplated to give boost to bilateral trade. The two countries have reportedly agreed to consider easing business visa rules - from issuing multi-centre documents to longer duration stay and no requirement to report to the police. Pakistan is expected to come up with the contours of the liberalized regime and India will match it, said a senior government official.

In addition, the Indian government has agreed to consider lifting the blanket ban on investment from across the border, while it has asked Islamabad move to "normal trade".
< class="text11verdana">Source:, The Times of India, August 29-30, 2011

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Bilateral trade with South Africa to touch $ 15b

Stating that growth and investment relations between India and South Africa were in the upward trajectory, Union Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma on Monday exuded confidence that trade between the two countries would touch the $15 billion mark much before the 2014 deadline.

Interacting with the South African Trade and Industry Minister, Rob Davies, during the meeting of the India-South Africa CEO Forum here, Mr. Sharma said: "We hope to achieve the target of $15 billion set for 2014 in trade much before than the proposed deadline".

This was the second meeting of the India South Africa CEO Forum. The first forum meeting took place in Johannesburg in August 2010.The business forum is jointly chaired by Ratan Tata of the Tata Group and South African mining magnate, Patrice Motsepe.

Earlier, India and South Africa discussed a host of developmental issues, including increased trade ties, with industry ministers of both countries jointly addressing top business leaders in New Delhi on Monday.
< class="text11verdana">Source:, August 28, 2011, The Hindu, August 30, 2011

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">$ 6.5-b investment in renewable energy

India expects investments of Rs 300 billion ($6.5 billion) in renewable energy projects in the current financial year, the minister for renewable energy said Friday. The country plans to add 3,400 megawatt grid-linked and 130 MW off-grid generation capacity based on renewable energy sources in the financial year through March, Farooq Abdullah informed law-makers in the Lower House of Parliament.

It would require Rs290 billion to set up capacities based on wind and solar energy and small hydroelectric projects, Abdullah said. Another $ 10 billion is expected in energy systems like biogas plants and solar water-heating systems in remote villages, he added.
< class="text11verdana">Source:, August 26, 2011

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">President signs GST bill into law

President Mohamed Nasheed has ratified the "Goods and Services Tax Bill" (GST), which was passed at Parliament’s 34thmeeting of the term last Monday. The President signed the Bill into law at a function on Fuvahmulah. The GST Bill was published today in the government’s gazette.

The tax bill is divided by type of sale. Sales are defined as either tourism goods and services, or goods and services for sectors other than tourism. The points addressed by the GST Bill include collection, exemptions, duration of taxation, methods of calculation, and registration of taxable activities.
< class="text11verdana">Source: Minivan News, September 02, 2011

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Yameen to join Gayoom’s party

Opposition People’s Alliance (PA) Leader Abdulla Yameen has announced his intention to sign up for the new political party recently advertised by his half-brother, former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, reports Haveeru.

The MP from Mulaku said that Gayoom’s creation of a new political party was "widely requested" and due to "no other choice". He said MPs from PA and Gayoom’s group had voiced concern that the opposition Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) was not fulfilling its duties.

The PA will not be dissolved in the wake of Yameen’s departure, Haveeru reported. Instead the party would form a coalition with the new, as yet unnamed party. Yameen told Haveeru that he was no longer involved in the People’s Alliance.

Yameen further announced that intended running for the new party’s presidential primary. He added that he will support whoever the party chooses for the 2013 presidential election.
< class="text11verdana">Source: Minivan News, September 02, 2011

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Battarai elected Prime Minister

UCPN (Maoist) Vice-chairman Dr Baburam Bhattarai has been elected the new Prime Minister of Nepal by a voting in Parliament. He secured 340 votes in the 601-seat Parliament on August 28. His lone rival Ram Chandra Paudel of Nepali Congress (NC) bagged 235 of the total 575 votes cast.

The Maoist party’s last-minute deal with the United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF) paved the way for Bhattarai’s victory. While the UCPN (Maoist), the largest political party in the parliament, alone commands 236 seats in the House, UDMF, an alliance of five Madhes-based parties, altogether has 65 seats in Parliament.

Madhesi People’s Rights Forum, CPN-Samyukta, Rastriya Janamorcha, CPN-ML (Socialist), Nepal Sadbhavana Party (Anandidevi), Federal Sadbhavana Party, Rastriya Janamukti Party, CPN (Ekikrit), Federal Democratic National Front, Dalit Janjati Party, Nepal Rastriya Party, Socialist People’s Party, Nepal Democratic Socialist Party, Nepal Family Party and independent lawmaker SadrulMiyaHaque also voted for Bhattarai.

Paudel got votes from CPN-UML, Rastriya Prajatantra Party, CPN-ML, Rastriya Janashakti Party and an independent lawmaker Baban Singh.

In the 601-seat parliament, seven seats have remained vacant as memberships of three law-makers have been scrapped, one resigned and three others passed away.

After tabling of the proposal for his candidacy in Parliament, Bhattarai said that being a prime minister of a majority coalition was not his choice. "Still the doors for transforming the government into a consensus coalition will always remain open and I will make efforts toward that end," he said.
< class="text11verdana">Source:, August 28

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">CA extended by 3 months

Two days before the expiry of the Constituent Assembly (CA) tenure, Parliament extended the CA term by three months for the third time. The extended term of the CA was due to expire on Aug 31.

The tenth amendment bill of the interim constitution was passed with 537 votes for the motion. Four lawmakers of the Rastriya Prajatantra Party - Nepal, a royalist party, voted against the extension.

The new deadline of the CA is now extended to November 30.
< class="text11verdana">Source:, August 29

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Marxists still on US terror list

The US has said that Nepal’s Maoists needed to do more to be removed from a terrorism blacklist, even though it hopes to work with the new prime minister from the left-wing movement.

The US has pledged to work with Maoist Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai, but, in response to a question, said that the Unified Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist would remain on a list of terrorist organisations whose members are barred from US travel.

"While the party has taken some positive steps, we continue to have areas of concern which must be addressed before the party could be de-listed," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said. "We are hopeful that we will be able to have a good working relationship,’ she said but did not specify criteria. US diplomats in the past have urged the Maoists to renounce definitively the use of violence as a political instrument.
< class="text11verdana">Source: AFP, September 01, 2011

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Maoists surrender arms containers

In what could be viewed as a major headway in on-going peace process, ruling UCPN (Maoist) started handing over keys of the weapons containers to Army Integration Special Committee (AISC) as per the party’s earlier decision.

The Maoists started the hand-over from the Third Division of People’s Liberation Army cantonment in Shaktikhor of Chitwan and Second Division in Dudhauli of Sindhuli district including Jhyaltungdanda cantonment of Nawalparasi, Dhaban cantonment of Rolpa and Chulachuli cantonment of Ilam district.

Newly-elected Prime Minister Dr Baburam Bhattarai, who also leads the AISC as per the existing provision, was under pressure to move forward with practical action to prove his commitment to the peace process. However, the hard-line faction of the Maoists, led by senior Vice-Chairman Mohan Baidya has criticised the hand-over. The Baidya faction imposed a nationwide chakka jam (transportation strike) Friday morning to protest the party decision to hand over the keys of the weapons containers of the seven cantonments to the AISC.
< class="text11verdana">Source:, September 02, 2011

< class="brown12verdana">Contributors:

Afghanistan: Aarya Venugopal;
Bangladesh: Joyeeta Bhattacharje;
Bhutan and Pakistan: Sripathi Narayanan;
India: Satish Misra;
Nepal: Akanshya Shah;
Maldives & Sri Lanka: N SathiyaMoorthy;

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.