MonitorsPublished on Oct 18, 2009
President Mahinda Rajapaksa-led ruling Sri Lanka Freedom Party-United People's Freedom Alliance coalition won the southern provincial council elections with a heavy margin.
South Asia Weekly 94
Sri Lanka
< class="heading12boldGeorgia">SLFP-UPFA coalition wins provincial polls in South
President Mahinda Rajapaksa-led ruling Sri Lanka Freedom Party-United People’s Freedom Alliance coalition won the southern provincial council elections with a heavy margin. The coalition’s overall vote share at 68 per cent, however, was lower than what they secured in their victory in Uva provincial council polls, which was about 80 per cent. The UPFA secured 38 seats in the 55-member southern provincial council, while the main opposition United National Party (UNP) got only 14 seats, five seats less than their 2004 tally. The Left parties -- Janata Vimukti Peramuna (JVP) and National Freedom Front -- failed to secure a respectable number of votes in the polls. It is now widely believed that after consecutive victories in the provincial council polls following their military victory over the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, President Rajapaksa may call for early presidential elections in 2010.  

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Bangladesh bans Hizb-ut Tahrir

The Bangladesh government banned extremist Islamic political party Hizb-ut Tahrir, this week. The group has been active in the country since 2000 and had been able to attract many educated youths and professionals. The group opposes democracy and aspires to establish Islamic rule in Bangladesh. During December 2008 Parliamentary elections the group distributed inflammatory leaflets and posters claiming elections as un-Islamic. The government listed Hizb-ut Tahrir as a militant organisation in March this year. Hizb-ut Tahrir was founded in Jerusalem in 1953 and is believed to have links with Al-Qaeda. 

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">President Nasheed warns world of environmental catastrophe
During his recent visit to India, Maldivian President Mohamed Nasheed not only made the entire country aware of the impending environmental crisis due to rapid melting of the Himalayan icecaps, but also succeeded in attracting investors to come to his tiny island nation. During his meeting with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh he drew the prime minister’s attention to the melting of the glaciers and the consequent rise in the sea levels and reiterated his commitment to bring the carbon levels down to 350 ppm. Throughout his trip, he lectured extensively on the topic of the climate change which received media attention. He also met with Indian industrialist Ratan Tata, Chairman of the Tata Group, and urged him to invest in Maldives.            

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Suicide bomber kills elite commanders in Iran; US, Pakistan blamed
A suicide bomber killed seven senior commanders of the elite Revolutionary Guards, among 42 others, in the Sistan-Balochistan province of Iran last Sunday (October 18). According to Iran, Abdolmalek Rigi, leader of the Sunni extremist group Jundallah claimed responsibility for the attack. Iran has accused the United States and Britain of masterminding the attack by using Pakistan as a proxy. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said, “We have heard that certain officials in Pakistan cooperate with main agents of these terrorist attacks in the eastern part of the country.” Although Pakistan categorically denied these allegations, claiming that Rigi is based in Afghanistan, Iran raised the prospect of hot pursuit of Jundallah terrorists into Pakistan in the future.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Contributors

Anjali Sharma - Sri Lanka, Maldives

Joyeeta Bhattacharjee - Bangladesh

Kaustav Dhar Chakraborti - Pakistan

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