MonitorsPublished on Nov 08, 2009
In a move that was not unexpected, Sri Lanka's Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Sarath Fonseka resigned from his post, which was created exclusively for him by the Mahinda Rajapaksa government soon after the end of the ethnic war.
South Asia Weekly 97
Sri Lanka
< class="heading12boldGeorgia" >Gen. Fonseka resigns; all set to enter active politics

In a move that was not unexpected, Sri Lanka’s Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Sarath Fonseka resigned from his post, which was created exclusively for him by the Mahinda Rajapaksa government soon after the end of the ethnic war. Gen. Fonseka handed over his resignation to the president after their meeting which was held to iron out the differences between the two, immediately after returning from his aborted visit to the United States. The General cited 17 reasons for his resignation, including the government’s inability to negotiate peace with the Tamil minority. Rumours are already doing the rounds that General Fonseka is all set to enter into active politics and would contest the next presidential elections as a candidate of the 12-party opposition alliance formed under the leadership of former prime minister Ranil Wickremasinghe. President Rajapaksa has already made it clear that his government has no objection to Gen. Fonseka’s contesting elections as the opposition candidate. However, several groups, including the powerful Buddhist clergy, consider his decision as against the national interest.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia" >Three Laskhar militants arrested

Three Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) militants were arrested this week. The militants are suspected of conspiring to attack American and Indian targets in Bangladesh.  Earlier, three other LeT militants were arrested from a madrasa in the port city of Chittagong. Following their interrogation the presence of other Lashkar militants was confirmed.  It is believed that the LeT’s conspiracy to target US and Indian interest in the country was revealed following the arrest of two Pakistan-born militants in the US who were plotting to attack American installations across the globe. The government has adopted a tough stand against militancy in the country and has arrested many members of the Pakistan-based LeT.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia" >Maldives celebrates 41st Republic Day

Maldives celebrated its 41st anniversary Republic Day on November 11, 2009. The day also marked the first anniversary of a democratically elected government under the leadership of Mr. Mohamed Nasheed, after 30 years of rule by Maumoon Abdul Gayoom. In his address to the nation, President Nasheed assured all citizens that he would carry out all his assigned responsibilities and would not waver in surmounting the obstacles in his path. He said the hardest task at hand was bringing the country back on track after years of inequitable and unjust practices. Nasheed added that there has never been a government in Maldivian history, except the current one, which ended a year without arresting political prisoners. He ended his speech on a positive note that the vision which his government has for the Maldives would last forever.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia" >Gilgit-Baltistan goes to the polls for the first time

Gilgit-Baltistan went to the polls on Thursday (November 12) to elect a provincial government for the first time in its history. Earlier the region, then known as Northern Areas, was under federal control and was not granted political rights. However, in August, the government enacted the Gilgit-Baltistan Empowerment and Self-Governance Order 2009 that rechristened Northern Areas as Gilgit-Baltistan, pledged greater economic aid and paved the way for the recently concluded elections in which 256 candidates contested 23 seats. Over 700,000 voters participated in the elections. The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) emerged as the single largest party even as opposition parties accused it of widespread rigging. Voting took place amid a heavy security blanket that comprised 5000 security personnel from the Army, the local scouts, Frontier Constabulary and police units.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia" >Contributors

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