MonitorsPublished on Aug 03, 2009
The new chief of Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), Selvarasa Pathmanathan alias KP, was arrested in Thailand on August 6. Thai authorities claimed that KP was arrested by the Malaysian Police after he had gone to Malaysia to meet with senior LTTE cadres to discuss his "new policies".
South Asia Weekly Report 83

Sri Lanka
< class="maroontitle">Thai authorities arrest new LTTE chief, deported to Colombo

The new chief of Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), Selvarasa Pathmanathan alias KP, was arrested in Thailand on August 6.  Thai authorities claimed that KP was arrested by the Malaysian Police after he had gone to Malaysia to meet with senior LTTE cadres to discuss his “new policies”. Malaysia refused to comment on the Thai claim. On his appointment as the new chief of the LTTE, KP had said that he wanted the organisation to work towards its objectives in a peaceful manner. When Vellupillai Prabhakaran was the chief of LTTE, KP was looking after the outfit’s international linkages and was responsible for maintaining the drug cartel. He is also suspected to be involved in masterminding the murders of several VVIPs in Sri Lanka and abroad, including that of Rajiv Gandhi. He was on the most wanted list of the Interpol. Soon after his arrest, he was deported to Colombo where he is being questioned by the Sri Lanka police.

< class="maroontitle">Bangladesh team calls Tipaimukh visit a success

A ten-member parliamentary delegation from Bangladesh visited India this week for inspecting the construction site of the proposed Tipaimukh Dam in Manipur. India had invited Bangladesh to assess the hydel power project to ease its apprehensions about the project, including the environmental impact. India is building a dam at Tipaimukh on the Barak River that feeds many rivers in northeastern Bangladesh. The delegation was led by parliamentary water resources standing committee chairman of Bangladesh Abdur Razzaq. Representative of different political parties, other than the leading opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and its ally Jammat-e-Islami (JI), participated in it. The delegation met Indian External Affairs Minister SM Krishna and Power Minister Sushilkumar Shinde at New Delhi. Both Krishna and Shinde reiterated India’s commitment of not taking up any project that would hamper Bangladesh. Unfortunately, the team could not access the construction site as the helicopter with the team on board, could not land at the site due to turbulent weather. The team had to be satisfied with the aerial survey of the area. The delegation also demanded more information on the project, which India agreed to furnish. Explaining the visit as a success, members of the team claimed that they are convinced that India will not implement any project that will be harmful to the country.

< class="maroontitle">Is Maldives close to bankruptcy?

A prominent Maldivian economist Nafaa Naeem has warned the Mohamed Nasheed government that it is going bankrupt. President Nasheed admitted that the financial situation of the government is not good, and said that the country is on its way to bankruptcy because of the financial commitments made by the previous government headed by Maumoon Abdul Gayoom. The government complained of the sudden discovery of a large amount of the unpaid bills along with necessary approvals and vouchers from a drawer which they have to pay if it comes. The Gayoom government has also been accused of printing excess money and injecting it in the circulation exceeding the amounts of dollars in the country. Besides, it has also been found out that many big businessmen earning huge amount of dollars are not depositing them in bank, thereby purposefully creating a shortage.         
< class="maroontitle">Pakistan Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud reported to be dead
The leader of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) Baitullah Mehsud is reported to have died in a drone attack on Wednesday (August 5) in South Waziristan. Baitullah was with one of his wives when two Hellfire missiles fired from an unmanned drone stuck the house where he was staying, allegedly killing Baitullah, his wife, his father-in-law and several bodyguards. While it may take several weeks to verify his death, officials in Pakistan and the US are confident that they’ve killed al-Qaeda’s most important ally in Pakistan. Baitullah is blamed for the assassination of Benazir Bhutto in December 2007, a charge that he denied. Most of the suicide bombings that rattled Pakistan since 2007 are also attributed to Baitullah. He assumed leadership of TTP when it was formed in 2007 and had since been instrumental in forging otherwise disparate tribes into a single organization, a feat that led to the spread of the Taliban beyond Waziristan and even into the settled districts of North West Frontier Province. In the short run the Taliban will suffer from the loss - recent infighting between rival commanders resulted the death of a commander – and might lose its cohesiveness. However, the presence of al Qaeda, negligible state presence, widespread socio-economic disparities and years of hostility due to attacks by security forces means that the insurgency that Baitullah led will not die down after his death.

< class="maroontitle">Contributors:

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