MonitorsPublished on Oct 25, 2009
Several thousand Tamil refugees have started seeking asylum in Australia and Canada. Both the countries, however, are wary of accepting the asylum seekers for security reasons.
South Asia Weekly 95
Sri Lanka
< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Tamil refugees flock to Australia, Canada

Several thousand Tamil refugees have started seeking asylum in Australia and Canada. Both the countries, however, are wary of accepting the asylum seekers for security reasons. In Australia, the issue has been taken on another dimension with Australian officials suggesting an "Indonesian solution" to the problem, which hints at Indonesia as the processing hub for the refugees. Indonesia, of course, has not taken kindly to the Australian suggestion and has urged them to "solve the problem on their own". Strangely, Sri Lanka has found itself sidelined with Australia not even bothering to have a dialogue with the island nation, whose Tamil population it is dealing with. Analysts are of the view that the Tamils are migrating because of the inhuman conditions prevailing in the refugee camps. The migrants are also believed to be aiding the revival of Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam sleeper cells.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Security agencies fear major militant strike

Suspecting a major attack by Jamaat-ul Mujaheed Bangladesh (JMB), the banned fundamentalist militant outfit, the security of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Home Minister Shahara Khatun and many of their cabinet colleagues has been beefed up. JMB is known to have revived its operations in 33 districts across Bangladesh. It is believed to be operating under banner of different Islamic organisations. Some intelligence reports claimed that the suicide squad of JMB might carry out a suicide attack on Hasina and her colleagues. Recently security agencies arrested six members of the militant outfit and seized large quantity of grenades and other bombs. The government is trying to nab Maulana Saidur Rahman, the new leader of the group. Six top leaders of the JMB were executed in March 2007 due to their involvement in the countrywide bomb blasts on August 17, 2005.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Maldivian Defence Minister visit to India

Maldivian Defence Minister Ameen Faisal on a five-day visit to India met his Indian counterpart A K Antony to discuss ways of expanding defence cooperation between the two countries. Antony assured. Faisal that India will send a helicopter in November to set up an air wing of the Maldivian National Defence Force (MNDF). Antony also assured the Maldivian delegation that the Indian Army will set up maritime surveillance systems at different locations in Maldives this year and Indian Army engineers will assist the country in conducting surveys to construct a bridge from Lh. Naifaru to Hinnavaru. Earlier this year, during a visit to the Maldives,. Antony, announced the setting up of the 25-bed military hospital in Male and promised medical assistance to train Maldivian doctors, nurses and paramedics.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">President Zardari off the hook as National Reconciliation Ordinance passed

The National Reconciliation Bill was cleared for review in the National Assembly after the Assembly’s committee on law and justice adopted the same on Friday (October 30). While members affiliated with PML-Q opposed the bill, Nawaz Sharif’s PML-N and the MQM abstained. In October 2007, a much weakened Pervez Musharraf had issued the National Reconciliation Ordinance to facilitate the late Benazir Bhutto’s return to active politics by abolishing cases of corruption pending against Bhutto and Asif Ali Zardari. Her tragic death upset the power sharing deal and subsequently resulted in Zardari’s ascendancy to the Presidency. The Supreme Court last month directed the parliament to validate the NRO, failing which it threatened an inquiry against the beneficiaries of the ordinance. Just a few days before the bill was tabled, Zardari met Nawaz Sharif, his main political opponent. Though both sides insist that the NRO was not discussed, it remains most likely that the meeting charted out likely future trajectories of both the parties and possible compromises on the part of Zardari who currently enjoys wide ranging powers over the parliament, a major bone of contention between Zardari and his critics.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Contributors

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

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