MonitorsPublished on Jul 15, 2011
Recent political moves by the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) in Sindh reflect more desperation than confidence, while the Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) is doing what every political party in Pakistan excels in - crying foul for having been deprived of effective power by a stronger adversary.
Pakistan: PPP's game in Karachi, a sign of desperation
< class="heading1">Analysis

Recent political moves by the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) in Sindh reflect more desperation than confidence, while the Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) is doing what every political party in Pakistan excels in - crying foul for having been deprived of effective power by a stronger adversary, while doing almost nothing for the people when in power themselves. There had been a lot of tension between these two parties, who were in a coalition at the provincial and the federal-level. The anticipated split came on 27 June 2011, when the PPP-led Government postponed Assembly elections in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir owing to tussle over two Karachi-based seats under the refugee quota (held by MQM members). Instantly after the split, battles ensued between "hard men" from both sides on the streets of Karachi. As a result, the second largest city of Pakistan stands on the verge of total chaos, with truce nowhere in the vicinity. To top it all, the PPP Government passed three pieces of legislation in the Sindh Assembly that restored the local government system that was implemented by former military dictator Zia-ul-Haq in 1979, and the police system inducted by Lord Charles Canning, the first Viceroy of undivided India, in 1861.

Given Karachi’s history of political and ethnic unrest, the ongoing political violence that has claimed over 100 lives in seven days, unfortunate though it is, does not come as a surprise. The element of amazement, however, is the ease with which the PPP accepted the parting of ways with the MQM, and the haste with which it restored the old system of administration - just to make it difficult for the latter to function in Karachi, its traditional stronghold, and in the hope that such a move will help PPP consolidate votes for the impending 2014 general elections. It simultaneously formed an alliance with the Pakistan Muslim League (Quaid-e-Azam) or PML (Q), in Punjab. Interestingly, these developments were accompanied by Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani "welcoming" attempts by the Opposition to club against the Government, and President Asif Ali Zardari, the PPP co-chairman, not being too concerned by the split.

Though outwardly courageous and tactically smart, these moves reflect a deep sense of desperation instead of political confidence within the PPP. There are two main reasons for this.First, although restoration of the old, commissionerate system and the Police Act of 1861, might hand over to the PPP, the levers of control over Karachi and undercut the MQM’s influence; it will not help the party gain much political legitimacy to expand its vote- bank in the city. If anything, it will further alienate the people of Karachi from participatory politics. This is so because the comissionerate system will dismantle the city into five districts --. Karachi East, Karachi South, Karachi West, Karachi Central and Malir-- that will be run by deputy commissioners. Moreover, commissioners will be given powers to run "divisions" - a sub-provincial level of government. As a result, the system of districtnazims (mayors) being responsible to elected local officials will be abolished in favour of a system that will permit federal bureaucrats from the powerful District Management Group (DMG) to have authority to run districts. In contrast to this, the repealed Police Ordinance of 2002 and the Local Governance Ordinance 2001, gave local elected representatives a higher degree of autonomy to run the city as a single unit without much interference from the Provincial Government. All this basically means that the PPP will be able to appoint its own people in Karachi directly from Islamabad, without consulting the people of the city.

The irony here is that the PPP is undermining democratic principles of governance in its wider political calculations to win the 2014 elections. An immediate fallout of this move will be (and this is precisely how it is turning out) - the MQM will not let PPP live in peace in Karachi, so the violence will not ebb. Given the ethnic divisions in Karachi and the fact that PPP gets its votes from the rural areas of Sindh and not urban centres, it will not be able to garner support in a city of 18.5-million people. So, apart from getting political satisfaction for having settled scores with the MQM, there is no immediate benefit accruing from this move, though complications are many.

Secondly, the PPP has no support base in Punjab, despite its alliance with the PML (Q), whereas the PML (Nawaz) is a very strong party with a solid political basis in Punjab. Interestingly, PML (N) leader Nawaz Sharief has called for early elections, before March 2012 (instead of 2014). If this happens (the possibility of which cannot be ruled out), the PPP might have to pack its bags earlier. In order to make early elections a reality, Sharief has already opened the doors of his party to estranged former allies as well as Islamist rivals like the JamiatUlema-e-Islam (JUI) and of course, the MQM. It is not a coincidence that Punjab Senator Ishaq Dar of the PML (N) rushed to Karachi and ShahbazSharief went to London to meet AltafHussain, MQM leader-in-exile, to bring the party into its fold. Also, in spite of the "tough and "religious" sounds being made by MunawarHussain of the Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) and Imran Khan of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), the possibility of these parties getting along the PML (N) simply to kick the PPP-led Government out, is very much a possibility. Add to this the discontent and alienation being felt by the masses and the fact that the PPP’s credentials to govern effectively have taken a severe dip over the last three years.

In addition to the above, there are several other factors that play an important role in accentuating the problems of the PPP. Just to count a few - rapidly deteriorating Pakistan-US relations, confrontation with the judiciary over various cases with a Supreme Court that is more confident and independent in its functioning than before, heightened tensions in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the Durand Line, rising terrorist attacks all over the country with the army losing its charm among people as well as its own officers after PNS Mehran attacks and the US raid in Abbottabad, severe energy shortage, unemployment and foods inflation. All this will not make it any easier for the PPP-led Government to survive the political storm in waiting. Therefore, while the Opposition is setting the stage, a slight behind-the-scenes push from the army, and the PPP might just lose its fort.

(The author is a Research Assistant at Observer Research Foundation, New Delhi)

< class="heading1">Country Reports

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">ISI chief’s US visit a success

Intelligence chiefs of the US and Pakistan at the CIA headquarters in Langley have made progress bridging gaps between the two countries, after their relationship witnessed a fresh low when the US raid in Abbottabad that killed Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

Lt-Gen Ahmad Shuja Pasha made a brief visit to Washington to meet with Acting CIA Director Michael Morell and other intelligence officials. Both sides sought to renew ties of cooperation and move forward in a challenging relationship.

"The discussions today between Gen Pasha and the acting director of the Central Intelligence Agency went very well," a US official said on condition of anonymity. "They agreed on a number of steps that will improve Pakistani and US national security," the official said, without disclosing any more details. The meetings helped stabilise the intelligence partnership between the two countries.

The relationship between US and Pakistani intelligence services was especially strained after US Special Forces conducted a secret raid in Pakistan in May that killed bin Laden. Pakistan branded the operation a violation of its sovereignty and Pasha offered to resign.
< class="text11verdana">Source: The Dawn, July 15, 2011

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">MQM support for JUI-F

The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) on Friday formally announced its support for the nomination of Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) for the office of the Opposition Leader in the Senate.

Senate Chairman Farooq H. Naek had appointed JUI-F Secretary-General Haideri as the Opposition Leader in June. At the time, the nomination was widely criticised by the Opposition senators, including by senate members from the MQM.
< class="text11verdana">Source: The Dawn, July 15, 2011

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Govt declines to restore Zafar Qureshi in NICL case

The federal government has once again defied orders from the Supreme Court (SC) to restore Zafar Qureshi as the Chief Investigative Officer in the National Insurance Company Limited (NICL) multi-billion scam case. ?According to a private television channel, a three-member apex court bench headed by Chief Justice Pakistan (CJP) Iftihkar Mohammed Chaudhry is hearing the NICL case.

The CJ Chaudhry said the court could give orders regarding the restoration of Qureshi; however, it wanted government to function its way. The court also wondered as to why Zafar Qureshi was suspended, remarking it would be written in history for the government to have removed an honest officer from a case involving corruption.

Justice Khilji Arif queried as to why Zafar Qureshi was not being restored to his office. Earlier in yesterday’s hearing, the apex court gave the government one day’s notice to reinstate Zafar Quereshi as the Chief Investigative Officer in the NICL case. ?It is pertinent to note here the federal government Monday night suspended senior FIA officer, Zafar Ahmad Qureshi, on the pretext of his "speaking to media". However, in a counter move, the apex court cancelled his transfer orders. The interior ministry appointed Shafqat Naghmi as an inquiry officer and asked him to submit report in one week.
< class="text11verdana">Source: The Nation, July 15, 2011

Sri Lanka
< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Govt told to pay $ 162 m to bank

The Government-owned Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (Ceypetco) owes nearly $162 million plus interest to Standard Chartered Bank for non-payment of dues linked to hedging when the oil price hit a record level and then crashed, a London court has found. In his judgment, High Court Judge Hamblen concluded that Standard Chartered Bank’s claim of $161,733,500 plus interest should be paid by Ceylon Petroleum Corporation following the derivative transactions it entered into with the bank.

The State oil company, which imported some 26 million barrels per year at a cost of $2 billion in 2007, needed to hedge its purchases of crude oil and refined products on the international market. It was exposed to the record oil rally of 2008 when oil hit an all-time high above $147 a barrel for U.S. crude oil in July before crashing to less than $40 a barrel in December that year.

Standard Chartered Bank’s case was that Ceypetco had always been aware that a fall in oil prices would have made it liable to make payments to Standard Chartered.But in a counter claim, Ceylon Petroleum Corporation said it was entitled to refuse to make the payments. "The CPC, which had no appetite to lose money, should never have sold these products and it disputes their validity," noted the court judgment, but it dismissed Ceypetco’s counterclaim.

The State-owned company entered into derivative transactions with other banks and one official at Citi Bank, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the ruling could mean other banks would also be entitled to payments.
< class="text11verdana">Source: Daily Mirror Online, July 11, 2011

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">N-E Provinces should not be merged: CM

Chief Minister, Eastern Province, Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan alias Pillayan has said the Northern and the Eastern provinces should not be amalgamated under any circumstance and that the Provincial Councils should be vested with powers under the 13th Amendment.

He made this comment during a visit to the Southern Provincial Council yesterday. During his visit he studied the administrative functions of the Southern Provincial Council and watched the Council Meeting. He also held discussion with Chief Minister, Southern Province Shan Wijeyalal de Silva.

Chief Minister Shan Wijeyalal de Silva said in view of the instable political situation that prevailed in the country in 2004 when he was first elected as Chief Minister, he never expected to meet his counterpart in the East in this manner.

"That dream has turned a reality today. In the past we often talked about bomb explosions and military conflicts in the North and the East. However, we have been fortunate to live in peace and harmony as one nation and talk about development, instead" he said.
< class="text11verdana">Source: Daily Mirror, July 13, 2011

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Looking forward to LLRC report: Fox

Addressing the Lakshman Kadirgamar memorial lecture today, visiting British Defence Secretary Liam Fox stated that he looked forward to the publication of the LLRC report on November 15th.

Fox added that the freedom of expression, accountability and positive attitudes should be developed in the post conflict era and noted that the former Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar who served Sri Lanka wanted a political solution to the ethnic conflict. Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, separately, said accuses Sri Lanka of war crimes, imposed sanctions; and that that was the reason the UNP was ready to support the Government’s efforts to avoid such an eventuality. He said the country’s exports would be affected if economic sanctions were imposed, as a greater percentage of the country’s exports went to the West and the European region.

Wickremesinghe said the Government’s on-going talks with the TNA should continue and promised that his party would fully backed these deliberations. Mr.Wickremesinghe added, however, that the local government elections in the North should be conducted in a free and fair manner. He warned that the TNA would withdraw from the talks if the elections were not held in a free and fair manner.
< class="text11verdana">Source: Daily Mirror, July 12, 2011

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Don’t sell land: Basil tells people in North

Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa has "requested" the people of the north not to sell their properties and wait for the development of the road that will bring pride and value to their properties. The Minister officially handed back the lands to 247 families in the Thanankilappu area on the Chavakachcheri- Pooneryn road after it was cleared of land mines by the Sri Lanka Army.

The Minister said the Government had given first priority to uplift the living conditions of the people who were badly affected by the thirty year war. "Now the displaced people have been fully resettled in the Jaffna district. Once the mine clearing in certain places in Mullaitivu is completed they too will be resettled soon," he said.

The military has also constructed 45 houses for the poorest of the poor in the area and made the infrastructure facilities enabling the peasant to engage in cultivation activities. The Minister said the Chavakachcheri-Pooneryn road via Thanankilappu would be developed as a carpeted road to make it as a link road between the A-9 highway and the A 35 highway over the Sangupitty new bridge. The Minister said once this link road was developed the value of land and property in these areas would go up.
< class="text11verdana">Source: Daily Mirror, July 12, 2011

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Northern Province records highest GDP growth

The Northern Province has achieved the highest GDP growth in 2010, the latest statistics by Census and Statistics Department reveals. However, the GDP figure of the Northern Province has slightly increased from 3.2% in 2009 to 3.4% in 2010.

Accordingly, the GDP growth in Northern Province had shot up from 12.1% in 2009 to 22.9% in 2010. However, the Western province made the highest contribution to GDP in 2010 while its share in GDP reduced to 45.1% from 45.8% in 2009.

In line with improvements in the country’s economic environment, all the provinces have reported double digit growth rates in 2010.
< class="text11verdana">Source: Daily Mirror, July 13, 2011

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">India’s support sought for reconciliation

Burhanuddin Rabbani, head of the Afghan Government’s peace council, sought New Delhi’s support for the on-going reconciliation process with the Taliban. He held delegation level talks with the External Affairs Minister S M Krishna in New Delhi.

Krishna conveyed India’s unstinted support for the progress of Afghanistan while Rabbani updated him on the ongoing efforts to accommodate a section of the so-called moderate Taliban. Rabbani also briefed him on the security situation in that country which has become more precarious recently. He told reporters that India is an important country in the region and Afghanistan seeks its cooperation in peace and reconciliation in that country.

India has made it clear that it is ready to accept a peace deal in which only those Taliban who are ready to sever links with the Taliban-Al Qaeda, to renounce violence and accept the Afghan constitution are sought to be accommodated in a future dispensation.

Krishna underscored India’s growing stakes in peace and stability of Afghanistan, for whose reconstruction it has pledged 2 billion US dollars. The two sides also discussed the safety of over 4,000 Indians working on a range of reconstruction projects in Afghanistan.
< class="text11verdana">Source: PrasarBharti, July 15, 2011

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Deadliest six months

The first six months of 2011 were the deadliest for civilians in Afghanistan since the war began in 2001, according to a report by the United Nations (UN). The country saw 1,462 civilian deaths in January to June, a 15% increase on the same period last year.

Most of the deaths were caused by roadside bombs and anti-government forces such as the Taliban. While the total number of people killed by pro-government action fell by 9%, more people died in Nato air strikes. The report comes days before Nato is due to begin the process of handing over responsibility of some provinces to Afghan security forces.
< class="text11verdana">Source: BBC, July 14, 2011


< class="heading12boldGeorgia">BNP threatens no polls without caretaker govt

The Opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) leader Begum Khaleda Zia has categorically said that her party will not participate in any general election unless the caretaker government system is reinstated. No election will be allowed without a caretaker government, claimed Begum Zia while addressing a BNP organised mass hunger strike this week. She further opined that no election will be acceptable without BNP’s participation.

The BNP chief reiterated her stand that talks could be held on the choice of the head the caretaker government and to constitute a neutral Election Commission, but not on the legitimacy of the caretaker government system. She criticized government for amending the constitution and termed it be nothing but an AL manifesto which will be thrown away once her party gets into power.

Again, in her speech, she demanded that Awami League government should inform the people what the country will gain before signing any agreement with India. She said that her party will not allow setting up of the power plant in Bagerhat, which India is planning to construct and is also against establishment of a special Export Promotion Zone dedicated to Indian companies in Sylhet.

The BNP has also decided to launch peaceful movement like the one in the Middle East to oust the government after Eid-ul-Fitr, most likely in September.
< class="text11verdana">Source: The Daily Star, July 14, 2011/;, July 13, 2011

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Arrest warrant against Tarique

In a significant development, a Dhaka court issued arrest warrants against BNP’s Senior Vice-chairman Tarique Rahman and 11 others in the August 21 grenade attack case. The others facing arrest are former prime minister Khaleda Zia’s political secretary Harris Chowdhury, BNP lawmaker Kazi Shah Mofazzal Hossain Kaikobad, former director general of Directorate General of Forces Intelligence (DGFI) Maj Gen (retd) ATM Amin, former DGFI officer Lt Col Saiful Islam Joarder, former deputy commissioner (DC-East) of Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) Obaidur Rahman, and three leaders of outlawed Harkatul Jihad al Islami (Huji) Omar Abu Humayra alias Pir Saheb Baba, Hafez Moulana Yahiya Babu alias RatulBabu and Mufti Abdul Hye.

Around 24 Awami League leaders and workers were killed in gruesome grenade attack on a rally of the party in Dhaka on August 21, 2004.
< class="text11verdana">Source: The Daily Star, July 15, 2011

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Joint census for enclaves

India and Bangladesh this week launched a joint census to count population in 162 enclaves on both sides of the borders as the two neighbours prepare to resolve this cross-border problem during Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Dhaka in September.

The first ever joint census has been undertaken for exchanging the enclaves located in each other’s territory. There are 162 enclaves, 111 of thosem belonging to India are inside Bangladesh, while the rest 51 belonging to Bangladesh are in India.

This survey is the outcome of the Joint Boundary Working Group meeting and subsequent home secretary level talks between the two countries held earlier this year.
< class="text11verdana">Source: The Bangladesh Today, July 15, 2011

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Unemployment persists

The Labour Force Survey 2011, conducted by the Labour Ministry, pointed out that although the national unemployment rate had fallen from 3.3 to 3.1 percent, the percentage of youth without jobs remained at 9.2 percent for the last two years.

The most affected are the youth in the age group of 15-29. The data showed that youth between 20 and 24 years constitute 10.3 percent of total unemployed people followed by 6.9 percent of those between 15 and 19 years and 5.4 percent between 25 and 29 years.

Significantly, while the rate of youth unemployment in urban areas has reduced to 8.6 percent from 21.4 percent, it has witnessed a spike in the rural areas, from 4.9 to 5.7 percent.
< class="text11verdana">Source: Bhutan Observer. July 15, 2011

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Tops in ICT

The International Telecommunications Union has ranked Bhutan as one of the top countries in telecom services affordability. A study carried out by the Union showed that countries like Bhutan, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh witnessed a maximum rise in Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) services affordability.

The affordability cost in Bhutan fell by 75.4 percent followed by 67.4 percent in Sri Lanka and 65.2 percent in Bangladesh. Bhutan stood fourth among the ten economies in the world that saw the greatest decrease in the ICT price basket value next to Kenya, Madagaskar, and Zambia.
< class="text11verdana">Source: Bhutan Observer, July 15, 2011

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">24 killed in Mumbai serial blasts

Three blasts on Wednesday night (July 13, 2011) rocked the crowded areas of Mumbai killing 21 persons and injuring 141. The most powerful one, suspected to have been set off by an IED (improvised explosive device), occurred at Zaveri Bazar in south Mumbai, a congested part of the city, the second at Kabutarkhana near the Dadar suburban railway station in central Mumbai and the third at Opera House, also in south Mumbai.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attacks and investigations are continuing. Union Home Minister P Chidambaram visited the financial metropolis within hours of the attack to take stock of the situation. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson Sonia Gandhi, senior leader of the main opposition party- the BharatiyaJanata Party- L K Advani and others visited Mumbai on Thursday.

There was universal condemnation of the heinous act.
< class="text11verdana">Source: The Hindu, July 14-15, 2011

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">PM adds eight new faces

On Tuesday, July 12, 2011, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, after long consultations with UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, reshuffled his council of ministers bringing in eight new faces, dropping seven and changing portfolios of some of his cabinet colleagues.

Simultaneously, the Prime Minister also dropped eight other ministers, and shifted the departments for two veterans, including Law Minister M VeerappaMoily (to Corporate Affairs) and Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh (to Rural Development with Cabinet rank).
< class="text11verdana">Source: The Indian Express, July 13, 2011

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">GSAT-12 put in orbit

On Friday, July 15, 2011, the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C17) put the communication satellite GSAT-12 successfully in the orbit.

The GSAT-12, with 12 extended C-band transponders, will be used for tele-medicine, tele-education, telephone and various other communication purposes.
< class="text11verdana">Source:, The Hindu, July 14, 2011

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">NSG restrictions will not affect India: Russia

Russia has assured India that new international restrictions on the transfer of sensitive nuclear technologies will not affect the clean waiver India was granted in 2008.

The official spokesman of the Russian Foreign Ministry said the new guidelines adopted by the Nuclear Suppliers Group last month to ban the sale of enrichment and reprocessing (ENR) technology to NPT non-signatories will not apply to India.
< class="text11verdana">Source:, July 15, 2011

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Foreign Minister meets Hillary Clinton

Foreign Minister Ahmed Naseem met with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Washington D.C. According to the Foreign Ministry, Naseem thanked the US for providing assistance to strengthen democracy in Maldives and in her remarks, Clinton praised the government and people of Maldivesfor their efforts in bringing democracy to the country.

This is the first time a Foreign Minister of Maldives is meeting with his counterpart of the United States on an official trip. Naseem was accompanied by the Permanent Representative of Maldives to the United Nations Abdul Ghafoor Mohamed, the Deputy Permanent Representative Thilmeeza Hussain, the President’s Press Secretary Mohamed Zuhair and Special Envoy for Science and Technology Ahmed Moosa. The Managing Director of Amin Constructions Abdulla Mohamed, Maldives Association for Construction Industry (MACI) President Mohamed Ali Janah and Chairman of Yacht Tours Abdulla Jabir were also present as trade representatives.

During his trip to New York and Washington, Minister Naseem and his delegation are also meeting various representatives from the private sector and civil society, apart from officials of the US Government, the Foreign Ministry said.
< class="text11verdana">Source: Miadhu, July 13, 2011

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">MDP MPs bolt Parliament doors

Supporters and activists of both main parties surrounded the Parliament building in protest after a third consecutive sitting was disrupted by MPs of the main opposition Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party’s (DRP) breakaway Z-faction.

In a protest of their own, MPs of the ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) bolted the chamber doors and refused to let opposition MPs leave. Maafanu North MP Imthiyaz Fahmy told Minivan News that MDP MPs shut the chamber door at about 1pm when the sitting resumed after being adjourned in the morning.

"We said Majlis has to go ahead because it has been stopped everyday while there are important economic bills to pass," he said. "Every day they bring the sitting to a halt and everybody just goes home. Today we said nobody can leave."
< class="text11verdana">Source: Minivan News, July 12, 2011

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Gayoom says MDP depicts him as the most influential politician

Former President of Maldives and the Honorary Leader of the main opposition Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP), Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, has said that the resolution passed by the ruling party, Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), depicts him as the most influential politician in the country.

Gayoom expressed his contentment for the just evaluation of his political power by the ruling party. Speaking to VTV, he said that resolution is evidence enough that he still has the majority supporters.

In view of the recent allegations of the MPs of MDP that Gayyoom should take the responsibility of the disruption of the Majlis sittings by his followers, he said that he never intervened in the affairs of the Peoples’ Majlis. He said that the allegations were based on whim and false assumptions.

Gayoom said that the allegations are not new and that he has been accused of frauds and corruption involving 40 million dollars, 80 million dollars and 800 million dollars. He said that none of these accusations have been proven in court. He said that the 80 million dollar charge against him backfired against the plaintiff in the court.

The MDP national council resolution passed with the favour of the 58 members of the national council of MDP calls all the members of the party in the atolls to come to Male’ and demonstrate against Gayyoom and his followers for hijacking the Majlis and disrupting the State.
< class="text11verdana">Source: Miadhu, July 12, 2011

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Lanka to seek Maldivian assistance

Sri Lankan authorities probing a large-scale human-smuggling network are making arrangements to seek the assistance of the Maldivian Police in order to crackdown on those involved in the operations.

An official from the Sri Lanka police department told Haveeru that they have been coordinating with several local investigation arms as well as foreign governments in order to thwart the human smuggling network in Sri Lanka and have recently learnt that some of those involved in the network operate from Maldives and India.

"Our investigations have revealed that the human smuggling operations are taking place in a large scale with the key smugglers using India and Maldives as part of their operational bases. We have learnt that some of the human smugglers ferry people to Indian or Maldivian waters in which they are put into large boats and sent to foreign countries to seek asylum," he said. "We have several leads into the investigations and the Sri Lanka Navy has been helping us to intercept those boats which have been smuggling people," he said.
< class="text11verdana">Source: Haveeru, July 13, 2011

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Feasibility study on ferry service to India

Consultations are said to be underway to outline the economic viability of a proposed 30-hour ferry route between the Maldives and India designed to try and boost trade and tourism links between the two countries.

According to the Indian daily, Business Standard, Indian shipping authorities are looking into the possibility of running a passenger liner from the port of Cochin or Tuticorin as part of collaboration with their Maldivian counterparts to target both traders and tourist travel.

With any ferry service between the two destinations expected to last around 30 hours, research is ongoing into the possible benefits and demand for the services as a result.Earlier this year, ferry services between India and Sri Lanka were restarted after a thirty year hiatus as part of aims to try and strengthen economic and diplomatic ties between the two different nations.

As part of the Maldives’ own commitments to hosting the 17thsummit meeting of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) this year in Addu City, the Government has outlined "Building Bridges" - both in terms of physical connectivity and figurative political dialogue - as a key aim for the meeting.
< class="text11verdana">Source: Minivan News, July 11, 2011

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Nepal Caucus in US Congress

The first-ever Nepal Caucus in the US Congress was formally launched on July 13 in Washington DC. The Caucus will be co-chaired by US Congressmen Ander Crenshaw and Jared Polis.

Speaking on the occasion, Nepal’s Ambassador to the US, Dr Shankar Sharma pointed out that the formal launch of the Caucus capped a series of agreements and interactions between the two countries. He cited Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA), resumption of US Peace Corps Volunteer service in Nepal, visit of American trade delegation, and Disaster Risk Reduction Strategy Conference on Nepal held in Washington as clear indicators of the growing bilateral relationship.
< class="text11verdana">Source: The Himalayan, July 14, 2011

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Budget crisis averted

The ruling coalition parties managed to avert another crisis by striking a four-point deal with recalcitrant Madhesi parties which refused to let the Government table the annual budget.

The Samyukta Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha (SLMM), a loose alliance of five Madhes-based parties, have a list of demands which included a number of infrastructure projects, including an East-West railway route and relief packages to families of martyrs of the Madhes uprising which they want the government to accept before the budget was tabled.
< class="text11verdana">Source: The Himalayan, July 14, 2011

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Nepali Army for Iraq mission

The Nepali Army (NA) will be sending a contingent of 170 soldiers to Iraq under United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI). This is the second time the Nepali Army would be deployed in Iraq since 1990. The request for Nepali deployment in Iraq was made by UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs B Lynn Pasco in March this year when he meet the Army chief Chhatra Man Singh Gurung.

Over 3,500 Nepal Army personnel were currently serving in 36 different missions worldwide in more than 14 countries like Lebanon, Haiti, Syria, Israel, Congo, Ivory Coast and Eritrea among others. Nepali Army is the sixth largest troop contributor to the UN Peacekeeping mission.
< class="text11verdana">Source: The Himalayan, Xinhua, July 14, 2011

< class="brown12verdana">Contributors:

Afghanistan & Pakistan: Avinash Paliwal;
Bhutan: Sidharth Raimedhi;
India: Akhilesh Variar;
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.