MonitorsPublished on Oct 11, 2009
A ten-member parliamentary delegation from Tamil Nadu visited Sri Lanka and met with President Mahinda Rajapaksa and discussed the resettlement of the 250,000 war refugees.
South Asia Weekly 93
Sri Lanka
< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Indian MPs visit Sri Lanka

A ten-member parliamentary delegation from Tamil Nadu visited Sri Lanka and met with President Mahinda Rajapaksa and discussed the resettlement of the 250,000 war refugees. The delegation consisted of Members of Parliament from the Indian National Congress, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and VCK. President Rajapaksa assured them that the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) will be returned to their original homeland once the demining of the war-ravaged areas is completed. The delegation also visited the refugee camps in Vavuniya and Jaffna.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Bangladesh-Myanmar border tension

Tension mounted along the Bangladesh-Myanmar border after the military junta in Myanmar mobilized troops along the border. Myanmar brought in heavy tanks, artillery guns, frigates and warships along its border with Bangladesh. This prompted Bangladesh to increase its military presence. Bangladesh Rifles has requested the government to immediately strengthen its defence by constructing aircraft landing zones and concrete bunkers. The Chief of Bangladesh Army made an inspection of the border areas. Bangladesh believes that St Martin island in the bay of Bengal might be the probable target of Myanmar.  Bangladesh shares nearly 300 kilometers of its border with Myanmar. Both the countries have been engaged in dispute over fencing of border by Myanmar and delimitation of maritime boundary.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Majlis passes bill on privileges to former presidents

After a long debate and discussion, the Majlis passed a bill sanctioning privileges to former presidents with an overall majority minus article 9 which provides for the parliamentary approval to inspect the allegations before the president is taken to the court. The speaker cut off the provision from the original bill after a brief private discussion with the members of the different political parties. The bill passed in its present form is being touted as a victory of the ruling MDP, which was trying hard to pass the bill without article 9. Explaining his reasons, the speaker of the Maldivian Majlis Abdullah Shahid said that it is better to pass the bill without article 9 as the passage of the article will raise some practical difficulties, including the breach of the Constitution. Besides, two other amendments were passed which says that if the president gets elected to the office for the second tenure, he will not get the benefits until he concludes his second tenure.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Pakistan launches assault in Waziristan

Security forces on Friday night launched Operation Rah-e-Nijat (Path of Salvation) against the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in South Waziristan. 28,000 troops, supported by tanks, artillery and fighter jets are taking part in the operation. The objective of the assault is to restore the state’s writ in the restive tribal agency which is the nerve center of the Pakistan Taliban and its leader – Hakimullah Mehsud. Mehsud has claimed responsibility for attacks on the Army General Headquarters (GHQ), a UN compound in Islamabad, security offices in Lahore and numerous suicide attacks in Peshawar and elsewhere in North West Frontier Province in the past fortnight. Violence ascribed to the TTP has caused more than 2000 casualties in 2008. In the past, the army twice launched punitive assaults in South Waziristan and on both occasions met with severe loses, ultimately retreating after signing peace deals with the tribal militias, further emboldening the Taliban to spread its influence. However, the military is expected to achieve greater success since it enjoys widespread consensus – among the security forces, the polity and the public – for defeating the Taliban insurgency. But at the same time, the operation also makes major cities more vulnerable to suicide bombings in the coming weeks.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Contributors

Anjali Sharma - Sri Lanka, Maldives
Joyeeta Bhattacharjee - Bangladesh
Kaustav Dhar Chakraborti - Pakistan

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