MonitorsPublished on Sep 06, 2016
A gun battle in Kabul between forces loyal to Afghan Vice President Abdul Rashid Dostum and Tajik demonstrators left at least one person dead.
South Asia Weekly Report | Volume IX; Issue 36 | Clashes in Kabul

< style="color: #0069a6;">COUNTRY REPORTS

< style="color: #0069a6;">Afghanistan

< style="color: #163449;">Clashes in < style="color: #163449;">Kabul

A gun battle in Kabul between forces loyal to Afghan Vice President Abdul Rashid Dostum and a group of Tajik demonstrators left at least one person dead on  September 1. The clashes broke out at the rally to rebury the remains of a Tajik bandit who reigned over a century ago. For more information, see: Clashes at Kabul rally to rebury Afghanistan’s bandit king; Gun battle between ethnic factions roils Afghanistan’s capital

< style="color: #163449;">Aid worker freed

Australian aid worker, Kerry Jane Wilson, who was kidnapped in Afghanistan four months ago has been released, the Australian government confirmed on August 29. Wilson who has worked in Afghanistan for over 20 years with artisans, particularly women, was freed in a security operation in Nangarhar province. For more information, see: Australian aid worker who was abducted in Afghanistan is released

< style="color: #163449;">Gold mine regained

Security officials confirmed that they have regained control of a gold mine that had been taken over by the Taliban in Badakhshan province. According to officials, the gold mine was under Taliban control for the past two years, earning the group nearly five million Afghanis every month. For more information, see: Badakshan’sRaghistan gold mine cleared of Taliban

< style="color: #0069a6;">Bangladesh

< style="color: #163449;">Kerry meets Hasina

US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Bangladesh this week. During the visit, he held meetings with top leaders including Prime Minister Sheikh Haisna. Terming the visit to be good he informed that his country will have greater engagements and presence’ in Bangladesh against terrorism, extremism. For more information, see: US will have ‘more engagements, presence’ in Bangladesh against terrorism, extremism, says Kerry in Dhaka; US considering extradition request for Bangabandhu killers; Kerry calls for safeguarding labour rights; Democracy will be restored with US help; Kerry calls for safeguarding labour rights

< style="color: #163449;">SC upholds ‘death’

The Supreme Court this week reaffirmed the death penalty of war criminal Mir Quasem Ali. A five-member bench of the Appellate Division dismissed a petition filed by Mir Quasem Ali seeking review of its earlier verdict that upheld his death penalty for his wartime crimes. On November 2, 2014, the International Crimes Tribunal-2 ordered capital punishment on 63-year-old Jamaat-e-Islami leader Quasem over crimes against humanity committed during the Liberation War in 1971. For more information see: SC upholds death penalty for Mir Quasem

< style="color: #163449;">Bank profits shrink

The central bank's operating profit shrank by over 25 percent or Tk 2.66 billion in the last fiscal mainly for higher interest expenses for mopping up excess liquidity from the money market. Officials of the Bangladesh Bank informed the bank’s operating profit came down to Tk 7.72 billion in the fiscal year (FY) 2015-16 from Tk 10.38 billion a year before. The figure was Tk 20.38 billion in the FY14. For more information see: BB’s operating profit shrinks substantially

< style="color: #0069a6;">Bhutan

< style="color: #163449;">Police ‘Raising Day’

The Royal Bhutan Police celebrated its 51st Police Raising Day at its headquarters in Thimphu on September 1 Addressing the gathering, Chief Operations Officer of the Royal Bhutan Army, Lieutenant General BatooTshering, said that RBP has been doing a commendable job in serving and protecting the communities. For more information see: RBP celebrates Raising Day

< style="color: #163449;">Zika surveillance up

With increasing number of Zika virus cases being reported in the neighbouring countries, the health ministry has upped surveillance system in the country. For more information see: Health ministry beefs up Zika surveillance

< style="color: #163449;">LitFete ends

The seventh edition of Mountain Echoes came to an end with the Chief Royal Patron of Mountain Echoes, Her Majesty the Queen Mother DorjiWangmoWangchuck sharing an intimate time with the audience and participants in a hall that was packed beyond its capacity in Thimphu on 28 August. For more information see: Seventh edition of Mountain Echoes ends

< style="color: #0069a6;">India

< style="color: #163449;">Karnataka told to release Cauvery water

Urging Karnataka to embrace the principle of "live and let live", the Supreme Court asked the State to consider taking steps to release Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu to help the State continue to “exist as an entity.” For more information see: Live and let live: SC to Karnataka; urges State to release water to TN

< style="color: #163449;">Mixed reactions to India bandh call  

An all India strike called by major trade unions got under way on Friday. It was total in Kerala and drew mixed response in other States. It received lukewarm response from workers, top Labour Ministry officials in Delhi said. For more information see: Total shutdown in Kerala, mixed response in other States

< style="color: #163449;">Leak likely to affect Scorpene order

India is unlikely to give French naval contractor DCNS a proposed order for three new submarines, in addition to the six it is already building in the country, following the leak of secret data about its capabilities, defence officials said. Details of the Scorpene submarine were published in the Australian newspaper, triggering concerns that it had become vulnerable even before it was ready to enter service. For more information, see: India shelves plan to expand French submarine order after Scorpene data breach

< style="color: #163449;">Strategic and Commercial Dialogue to boost US trade

India and the US today resolved to use the Strategic and Commercial Dialogue (S&CD) mechanism to further elevate mutual trade and investment, while noting that strong commercial ties have defined their growing partnership. In an otherwise sluggish global economy, bilateral trade between India and the United States has held steady, and bilateral investment flows have grown over the last two years, their joint statement released after the 2nd India-US Strategic and Commercial Dialogue here. For more information, see: India, US to use S&CD platform to boost trade, investment

< style="color: #163449;">Defence tie-up with Vietnam

Prime Minister Narendra Modi signed 12 agreements with Vietnam on Saturday after meeting his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Xuan Phuc. The leaders of the two countries held delegation level talks.  PM Modi announced a new line of credit of $500 million for Vietnam to facilitate deeper defence cooperation. Along with setting a bilateral trade target of $15 billion by 2020, the Prime Minister also sought facilitation of ongoing Indian projects and investments in Vietnam. For more information, see: Narendra Modi seals defence cooperation with Vietnam, signs new credit line of $500 million, The Indian Express, September 3, 2016

< style="color: #0069a6;">Maldives 

< style="color: #163449;">Investment outlook rated ‘stable’

Credit-rating agency Moody’s has included Maldives among the bond-issuer rated nations, saying that the investment outlook in the country was ‘stable’. The announcement comes at a time when the Government of Abdulla Yameen is facing domestic political travails with international ramifications, and his camp has accused Al Jazeera TV news channel of destroying the nation’s tourism economy through a planned analytical report on corruption issues in the country. For more information, see: “Moody’s assigns Maldives’ first sovereign credit rating”, Maldives Independent, 3 September 2016; “Al Jazeera accused of plotting to damage Maldives economy”, Maldives Independent, 1 September 2016; “With increased revenue, government increases spending on capital expenditure”, Miadhu, 3 September 2016; “Ministers and MPs step up nationalistic rhetoric over removal plot”, Maldives Independent, 28 August 2016; “PPM MP slams Sri Lanka for harbouring ‘coup plotters’”, Maldives Independent, 1 September 2016; “Business lobby calls for ban on foreign press over ‘damage to Maldives tourism’”, Maldives Independent, 29 August 2016; “Police raid ex-president’s family residence over ‘coup plot’”, Maldives Independent, 31 August 2016; “Maldivian Islamic calendar amended in accordance with Saudi calendar”, SunOnline, 3 September 2016; “Local scholars criticize regulation banning long beards”, SunOnline, 3 September 2016; “Appeal cases has increased by 119% after the establishment of regional branches of High Court”, Miadhu, September 3, 2016

< style="color: #163449;">IOR unity ‘vital’

Addressing an international seminar organised by Delhi-based India Foundation in Singapore, former Maldives President, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom has called for a platform for dialogue among nations in the Indian Ocean Region (IORF), to ensure peace and security. Maumoon’s choice as speaker from Maldives becomes significant in the background of inner party problems vis a vis half-brother and incumbent President, Abdulla Yameen in the PPM that he heads. For more information, see: Maumoon: Unity vital for peace within Indian Ocean region, SunOnline, September 3, 2016

< style="color: #0069a6;">Myanmar 

< style="color: #163449;">Government apologises to UWSA

Government officials submitted an official apology to United Wa State Army, after the UWSA delegation angrily withdrew from the Panglong Conference on September 1.Confusion over the registration process resulted in Wa delegates being inadvertently relegated to observer status. For more information, see: Govt submits unofficial apology to UWSA

< style="color: #163449;">US considering relief

The United States is considering further easing or lifting sanctions against Burma around the time of a White House visit this month by the country’s new leader, State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, US officials told Reuters. For more information, see: Ahead of State Counselor’s Visit, US Considers Burma Sanctions Relief

< style="color: #0069a6;">Nepal

< style="color: #163449;">New envoys named

The government has decided to nominate Deep Kumar Upadhyay as Nepal's ambassador to India and former chief secretary Leela Mani Poudyal as ambassador to China. The decision to recommend Upadhyay and Paudyal as ambassadors to the two neighbouring countries was taken as per an understanding between the ruling CPN (Maoist Centre) and the Nepali Congress (NC). The NC, which wanted to have an ambassador to India from its quota, picked Upadhyay, while Paudyal was chosen by the Maoist Centre. For more information, see: Upadhyay, Paudyal named as envoys to New Delhi, Beijing; Govt picks Upadhyay again as envoy to India, names Poudyal for China

< style="color: #163449;">President, PM hold talks

President Bidya Devi Bhandari and Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal on Sept 1 held talks on latest political development in the country. In the meeting held at President's Office, ShitalNiwas, PM Dahal briefed the President about the country's latest political scenario. The discussion is learnt to have touched on the subject of elections and constitution's implementation within the Nepali month of Magh, 2074 BS as per Nepal's Constitution. For more information, see: President, PM discuss current politics

< style="color: #163449;">Japan ties feted

A special ceremony was organised here today to mark the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Nepal and Japan. Minister for Information and Communications, Surendra Kumar Karki, and the Japan's State Minister jointly affixed the first cancellation mark on a commemorative postage stamp issued by the Postal Services Department on the occasion of the diamond jubilee of the establishment of Nepal-Japan diplomatic relations. For more information, see: Nepal-Japan mark 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations; Nepal-Japan ties celebrated

< style="color: #0069a6;">Pakistan

< style="color: #163449;">Suicide-bomb kills 13

Thirteen people were killed in Peshawar on September 2 by a suicide-bomber at Mardan District Court. A faction of the Pakistani Taliban Jamaat-ur-Ahrar (JA) claimed responsibility for the attack that killed six lawyers, two policemen and injured another 52 others. The Jamaat-ur-Ahrar also attacked a Christian neighbourhood on the outskirts of Peshawar, killing one security guard in the early hours of  September 2. For more information, see: At least 13 killed in suicide blast at Mardan courthouse; At least 12 killed, 52 wounded in suicide blast at Mardan district courts; Five killed in Peshawar Christian colony attack

< style="color: #163449;">Invite for Arundhati?

The Punjab Assembly is considering inviting Indian author and activist Arundhati Roy to address members of the House on the 'Kashmir issue'. Roy had claimed that Kashmir was not an integral part of India and faced arrest in 2010 over her remark. For more information, see: Punjab Assembly mulls inviting celebrated Indian to honour her for Kashmir remarks

< style="color: #163449;">Turkey FTA this year

In an effort to improve bilateral trade ties, Pakistan and Turkey have agreed to eliminate 85 percent of tariffs. This brings the Pakistan-Turkey Free Trade Agreement (FTA) closer to completion and it is expected to be signed at the end of the year. The understanding was reached between the two countries during fourth round of Pakistan-Turkey FTA negotiation, which was held in Islamabad from 29-31 August. For more information, see: Pakistan, Turkey move closer to inking free trade agreement

< style="color: #0069a6;">Sri Lanka 

< style="color: #163449;">Need more time on reconciliation, Ban told

President Maithiripala Sirisena told visiting UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon that the Sri Lankan Government needed more time on reconciliation front. During his second post-war visit — the earlier one was when Mahinda Rajapaksa was President — Ban visited war-affected North, but left 'war crimes' issue mostly untouched. For more information, see: “MS to Moon: GoSL needs time to achieve reconciliation... takes swipe at extremist politicians”, The Island, 2 September 2016; “MS briefs UN Chief on programmes implemented to strengthen reconciliation”, Daily Mirror Online, 2 September 2016; “Lasting peace never reality with war winning MR in power, defeated P’karan alive – Prez”, The Island, 2 September 2016; “Ban dodges query on presumption of War Crimes”, Daily Mirror Online, 3 September 2016; “UNSG ducks query on alleged war crimes in Sri Lanka”, The Island, 2 September 2016; “Ban Ki-moon’s remarks to the media”, The Island, 3 September 2016; “Fast track the return home of displaced people: UNSG”, Daily Mirror Online, 2 September 2016; “UN chief calls on Sri Lanka to reduce army’s grasp”, The Island, 2 September 2016; “Youth involvement crucial for SL’s social justice: UN Chief”, Daily Mirror Online, 1 September 2016; “TNA seeks right to self determination”, Daily Mirror Online, 3 September 2016; “Protesters’ attempt to march on UN compound foiled”, The Island, 1 September 2016; “Geneva Resolution being implemented – Mangala”, The Island, 1 September 2016; “Mangala cautions media on giving coverage to protests against Geneva process”, The Island, 30 August 2016; “New Constitution by November: FM”, Daily Mirror Online, 29 August 2016; “Int'l Community no longer insisting in foreign judges”, Daily Mirror Online, 1 September 2016; “Sri Lanka to participate in UN Peacekeeping Defence Ministerial Confab in London”, The Island, 3 September 2016; “Ranil meets Biswal in Singapore”, Daily Mirror Online, 3 September 2016; “Learnt value of dialogue, compromise as peace negotiator in SL: Solheim”, Daily Mirror Online, 31 August 2016

< style="color: #163449;">Sri Lanka to buy Chinese fighter jets?

Talks about the purchase of Chinese J-17 fighters have resurfaced, this time directly from Beijing, instead of taking the Islamabad route even as neighbouring India has hailed Sri Lanka’s role in ensuring security in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR). For more information, see: Chinese J-17s for Sri Lanka?”, The Island, 3 September 2016; “India hails SL role in ensuring security in region”, Daily Mirror Online, 1 September 2016; “ECTA joint venture terms changed: JVP”, Daily Mirror Online, August 29, 2016

< style="color: #0069a6;">PRIMARY DOCUMENTATION

< style="color: #0069a6;">Bangladesh

< style="color: #163449;">Press Releases

Remarks by John Kerry Secretary of State Edward M. Kennedy Center in Dhaka, US Embassy Dhaka, August 29, 2016.

< style="color: #0069a6;">Myanmar

< style="color: #163449;">Press Releases

State Counsellor describes Union Peace Conference—21st Century Panglong as magnificent opportunity for harmony, President Office, September 1, 2016

< style="color: #0069a6;">Nepal

< style="color: #163449;">Press Releases

Press Release on Congratulatory message from Foreign Minister of China, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Nepal, August 26, 2016 Press Release on Credentials, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Nepal, August 29, 2016 Press Release on Congratulatory message from External Affairs Minister of India, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Nepal, August 31, 2016 Press Release: 60th Anniversary of the establishment of Diplomatic Relations between Nepal & Japan, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Nepal, August 31, 2016 Press release on inauguration of 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Nepal-Japan, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Nepal, September 1, 2016

< style="color: #0069a6;">BIBLIOGRAPHY

< style="color: #0069a6;">Afghanistan

< style="color: #163449;">Opinion Pieces

Lael Mohib, An attack on Afghanistan’s future, The New York Times, August 31, 2016 Moh Sayed Madadi, In Afghanistan, terrorism can’t win over tolerance, Al Jazeera, August 30, 2016 Afghanistan has many problems. Its president may be one of them, The Washington Post, September 2, 2016

< style="color: #0069a6;">Bangladesh

Opinion Pieces

< style="color: #163449;">Editorial

A welcome and long-awaited visit, Dhaka Tribune, August 30, 2016

< style="color: #163449;">Op-eds

Rupak Bhattacharjee, Rise of “Neo JMB” and post-Gulshan attack developments,, August 28, 2016 Ziauddin Choudhury, John Kerry’s nine hours in Dhaka, Dhaka Tribune, September 1, 2016

< style="color: #0069a6;">India

< style="color: #163449;">Opinion Pieces

C. Raja Mohan, A reunion of friends, The Indian Express, September 2, 2016

< style="color: #0069a6;">Maldives

< style="color: #163449;">Opinion Pieces

N. Sathiya Moorthy, Nasheed & Co in Colombo: What next?, ORF, August 29, 2016

< style="color: #163449;">Interviews

Xienna Saeed, A conversation on MUO’s plan for a transitional government, Maldives Independent, August 29, 2016

< style="color: #0069a6;">Myanmar

< style="color: #163449;">Opinion Pieces

Stella Naw, To Thant Myint-U: Undermining the Root Cause of Ethnic Nationalities’ Armed Struggle Will Not Help Achieve Genuine Peace in Burma NaingKoKo, What’s next for Myanmar-China relations?,The Irrawaddy, August 31, 2016

< style="color: #0069a6;">Nepal

< style="color: #163449;">Opinion Pieces

Mona Shrestha Adhikari, Teej and patriarchy, Republica, August 31, 2016 Randhir Chaudhary, So much to do, The Kathmandu Post, September 2, 2016 Working women, The Kathmandu Post, September 2, 2016

< style="color: #163449;">Editorials

New chinks, Republica, September 1, 2016

< style="color: #0069a6;">Pakistan

Syed Kamran Hashmi, Altaf Hussain’s final mistake, Daily Times, September 2, 2016 Aurangzeb Qureshi, Chaos in Balochistan: a boon for US and its allies?Daily Times, September 2, 2016 Ashraf Jehangir Qazi, Advocating Kashmir, Dawn, September 2, 2016 Muhammad Ali Ehsan, The threat India poses, The Express Tribune, August 31, 2016

< style="color: #0069a6;">Sri Lanka

< style="color: #163449;">Opinion Pieces

M. S. M. Ayub, Why did LTTE fail? Tamilini answers, Daily Mirror Online, September 2, 2016 Malinda Seneviratne, From transparency to opacity, Daily Mirror Online, September 1, 2016 Kelum Bandara, Constitution-making: Mangala wants it asap, Daily Mirror Online, September 1, 2016 R. Sampanthan, TNA Leader of the Opposition, No division of country, but the devolution of power, Daily Mirror Online, September 1, 2016 Rajitha Senaratne, Cabinet Spokesman, Buddhist way or the other way...a moment of reckoning for all Buddhists, Daily Mirror Online, August 31, 2016 Dayan Jayatilleka, Political ethnocide, State suicide?, Daily Mirror Online, August 31, 2016 Jehan Perera, Govt fast tracks super-structure reforms, The Island, August 30, 2016 Ranga Jayasuriya, This is how SWRD ‘gave the country back to its people’, Daily Mirror Online, August 29, 2016 N. Sathiya Moorthy, So what if Mahinda wants the party to end?, The Sunday Leader, August 28, 2016

< style="color: #163449;">Editorials

Daily Mirror Online, Sampanthan goes South with the hand of friendship, August 29, 2016

< style="color: #0069a6;">Contributors:

Afghanistan and Pakistan: Kriti M. Shah Bangladesh: Joyeeta Bhattacharjee Bhutan and Myanmar: Mihir Bhonsale India: Shubh Soni and Pushan Das Maldives and Sri Lanka: N. Sathiya Moorthy Nepal: Anasua Basu Ray Chaudhury and Sreeparna Banerjee
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