MonitorsPublished on Dec 22, 2011
With the international community reacting on expected lines on the Report of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC), the matter could now be expected to be taken up by the West in forums where they have a say.
Sri Lanka: Where from here, LLRC Report?
< class="heading1">Analysis

With the international community reacting on expected lines on the Report of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC), the matter could now be expected to be taken up by the West in forums where they have a say. The LLRC was purportedly set up to ’fix’ accountability for alleged ’war crimes’, but is said to have fallen short of fixing any responsibility on any one. The pitch will be queered possibly at the March session of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva, where the Sri Lankan efforts to buy time had paid off in September. Yet, Colombo will have to be more than being innovative and imaginative to ward off furthering of what it perceives as the Tamil Diaspora efforts at embarrassing the Government and scuttling the on-going political negotiations with the Tamil National Alliance (TNA).

The LLRC, itself a product of protests at the UN, UNHCR and elsewhere by the international community, and campaigns launched successively by INGOs and sections of the global media, has all but cleared the Sri Lankan political leadership and armed forces command of any wrong-doing for what it acknowledges as the ’considerable’ loss of lives in the last stages of the war. Until the LLRC Report was out the Government had denied such charges, and stuck to its considered and well-intentioned war-time policy of ’zero-casualty’ on the civilian front. The Commission, in its report submitted to President Mahinda Rajapaksa, suggested that the Government to inquire into individual cases of wrongful deaths and disappearances.

Tabling the LLRC Report in Parliament, Leader of the House and Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva promised to investigate individual cases of the kind to fix criminality behind such deaths and disappearances. This has cut both ways as sections of the international community have reacted in ways that reflect along their known positions vis a vis Sri Lanka in the contemporary geo-political context, where human rights and violations are seen as being interpreted in political, and not absolute terms. It is thus that the US has reacted strongly while Canada, which has been vociferous for action against Sri Lanka until recently, has welcomed the LLRC Report and yet commented that it was still inadequate.

In a way, western nations that have since commented on the LLRC Report have stopped short of demanding an international inquiry. They are possibly waiting for the promised Government action on the Report before making up their minds. China, a known backer of Sri Lanka ever since war crime charges came to be thrown at Colombo, has not named the LLRC Report but wants to allow the country to address internal problems internally. Russia, another perceived ally of Sri Lanka in the matter, has maintained silence thus far. Russia and China, both veto-powers in the UN Security Council, are seen as opposing any global bias against Sri Lanka when charges of human rights violations could be thrown at many other nations as well. Their support for Colombo in the UNSC had forced the West to take up the matter to the UNHCR, where it now rests.

Preparing the defences on the domestic front?

In a move that surprised many, President Rajapaksa told Parliament, post-LLRC Report, that the UNP rival had failed to rally round Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe to propose alternative programmes for the nation, but were resorting to in-fighting all the time. UNP dissidents who had lost inner-party elections to the Wickremesinghe camp only a day or two earlier, alleged, as in the past, a secret understanding between the two leaders. As if by cue, Wickremesinghe himself alleged that a foreign NGO had funded party dissidents, and the Government too did not lose much time in promising a probe.

Separately, there were also reports of the Government and family members of jailed former army commander Sarath Fonseka negotiating the latter’s release through a parliamentarian, after his twin convictions and consequent imprisonment were upheld by the appellate judiciary. As commander of the armed forces at the height of ’Eelam War IV’, Fonseka had gone on to contest Rajapaksa’s re-election for the presidency, and embarrassing both, and also the nation’s troops in the process, through a series of media interviews that would put the political and military leadership in an uncomfortable light on the human rights front in particular.

Wickremesinghe’s charge against an INGO, while keeping the more ’nationalist’ UNP dissidents on the bind, could go to strengthen Colombo’s earlier claims that foreign governments and funding agencies were interfering in the internal affairs of the country. Team Rajapaksa had laid such charges when Wickremesinghe had contested against him in 2005, and later when Fonseka was the common Opposition nominee during President Rajapaksa’s post-war re-election bid of 2010. Media reports indicate a competition between Wicrkemesinghe and the UNP on the one hand, and the leadership of the Democratic National Alliance (DNA), an unacknowledged breakaway group of the Left-leaning JVP, on the other, seeking to claim credit for Fonseka’s release, if it materialised.

Simultaneously now, the Government has hardened the stand on the political negotiations and the TNA, declining any bargaining on three contentious issues, namely re-merger of the North and the East, Police and Land powers. It has begun likening the TNA to the erstwhile LLTE, with President Rajapaksa making a reference in a meeting with Editors, followed by a public mention of the same in Parliament. It is possible that the Government’s new position may have flowed from signals that the West may not any more link accountability issues to progress on the political negotiations -- and that they were stand-alone issues for them, after all. It thus remains to be seen if Colombo would first succeed in re-establishing such linkages for the Geneva session to delay action, at least until the regular, once-in-four-year HR review of the country becomes due in September next.

Playing for time, or what?

Whatever that be Sri Lanka seems to be always playing for time in the matter, rather than addressing issues squarely. It owes to the deliberate diplomatic posturing of the West wanting accountability issues to rest at the door-steps of the political and bureaucratic masters of the armed forces, as much as the higher command -- but not wanting to put across the idea in substantive terms. Such a course, while reading undiplomatic, would also lead to charges that the West had pre-judged issues and was biased in the matter. Yet, friends of Sri Lanka have been frustrated by the imaginative interpretations often offered by Colombo to emerging situations, which however had often flowed from its previous commitments.

The Colombo Government knows what the West is aiming at but pretends as if it does not understand. This has given the impression that Colombo is non-serious in its approach to HR violations and consequent commitments from the past. The Government denies such charges squarely. Instead, Government leaders have often argued that the international community has been acting in ways that has been providing oxygen to separatists in the country at a time when it could ill-afford the same, in terms of political stability and developmental programmes in the post-war era. To the Government leaders, the West is weighed down not as much by considerations human rights but by compulsions of Diaspora constituency back home.

From among the friends of Sri Lanka, Russia was the first one to speak out when the controversial ’Darusman Report’ from the three-member advisory committee appointed by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was made public. China followed suit. The burden of the two positions was that Sri Lanka was being singled out by the West, many of whose members had wronged more on the HR front even in recent years, and that Colombo should be allowed to address the issues through internal mechanisms. Now that the focus has thus shifted to the LLRC Report, from Darussman Report, it will be interesting to note what positions Beijing and Moscow take on the follow-up action, at least as far as the Sri Lankan Government goes.

The fact however remains that during the course of ’Eelam War IV’, the Sri Lankan leadership had reportedly and repeatedly promised the international community of imminent political solution to the ethnic issue once they had helped Colombo to end LTTE terrorism for good. That has not happened since. Independent of the Government’s submissions on the scope and scheme of the current negotiations with the post-LTTE TNA, the general perception continues to blame the former as being ’insincere’ as was over the past 60 years. Now the perceived unwritten understanding between President Rajapaksa and Opposition Leader RanilWickremesinghe may be used to paint the ’Sinhala majority’ with a common brush, as in the past.

(The writer is a Senior Fellow at Observer Research Foundation)

< class="heading1">Country Reports

Sri Lanka
< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Govt promises action on LLRC Report

The Government has tabled the report of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) in Parliament. It was handed over to President Mahinda Rajapaksa a few weeks earlier. The report has concluded that that the Sri Lankan armed forces did not wilfully target civilians and that the LTTE was also partially responsible for the loss of civilian lives. It has suggested that specific cases of excesses must be independently investigated.

The report has also called for greater government accountability especially with regard to refugees and lays the primary responsibility of avoiding future conflict with the government in power. Presenting the report to Parliament, Leader of the House and Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva promised to withdraw the armed forces from civilian life and decision-making in civilian matters, without promising their withdrawal to the barracks in the war-torn areas in the North and the East.

The LLRC’s report has received a mixed response from the local and international community. The left-leaning Janatha Vimukthi Permamuna (JVP) claimed the LLRC was a waste of time and money as it had failed in its main purpose of identifying the core problems that gave rise to the conflict. Amnesty International, which has called for an international war crimes enquiry, rejected the report on grounds that it failed to pursue the allegations against the government, armed forces and the LTTE of crimes against humanity. The Canadian Government commended the report and its intent and hope it helps advance accountability
< class="text11verdana">Source: Daily Mirror, December 18, 20-21, 2011; Daily News, December 22, 2011; Sri Lanka Mirror, December 16, 2011;, December 16, 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Fonseka loses appeal

The Court of Appeal has dismissed former armed forces commander Sarath Fonseka’s appeal against the 30 months’ rigorous imprisonment handed down by a court martial. Dismissing the appeal on the grounds of inadequate evidence, a three-member Bench said that Fonseka had failed to provide documentary proof to support his claims and allegations.

The court-martial related to the import of weapons through a foreign firm in which Fonseka’s son-in-law had an interest, by flouting tender norms. Earlier, the court had dismissed his appeal in another case, where a court-martial had sentenced him to three-years in prison in the "white flag case" after a local newspaper had quoted him as saying that Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa had ordered the killing of LTTE leaders wanting to surrender to the armed forces at the height of the ethnic war in May 2009.
< class="text11verdana">Source: Daily News, December 21, 2011; AFP, December 21, 2011; Colombo Page, December 20, 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Parliament approves budget

Parliament has accepted and passed the 2012 national Budget with a two-thirds majority. The budget was presented by President Mahinda Rajapakse, who is also the Minister of Finance and Planning.

The budget is development-oriented with the aim of making Sri Lanka the ’wonder of Asia’ in the next five years, in keeping with the ’Mahinda Chintanaya’ policy of President Rajapaksa. Yet, the budget has made increased provisions for Defence but a substantial share has been allocated for repayment for weapons imported during ’Eelam War IV’.
< class="text11verdana">Source: Daily News, December 17, 2011;, December 16, 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Speculation over peace talks

Arsala Rahmani, a senior member of the High Peace Council, has said that the Taliban was willing to open an office in an Islamic country, which would provide them with a political address through which they could hold talks with the Afghan Government. Almost simultaneously, senior US officials have commented on the 10-month-long secret dialogue with the Taliban, stating that talks were at a critical juncture and that they would soon be able to comment on the possibility of a breakthrough.

As part of the confidence-building measures, the US is considering the transfer of an unspecified number of Taliban prisoners held in Guantanamo Bay to the custody of the Afghan Government. The Talibanese are required on their part to denounce international terrorism and make a commitment to enter into formal political talks with the Government of President Hamid Karzai.

American officials have already met with Tayeb Agha, secretary to Taliban leader Mullah Omar, and Ibrahim Haqqani, a brother of Maulvi Jalaluddin Haqqani, leader of the ’Haqqani network’. On the other hand there has been no comment by the Taliban on the opening of an office in Qatar and any possibility of formal talks with the Afghan Government.
< class="text11verdana">Source: Surgar, December 19, 2011, Outlook Afghanistan, December 19-20, 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Rail link with Northern neighbours

The first major rail line was inaugurated in the country, connecting the Uzbek border to Mazar-e-Sharif. The railway line runs through northern Afghanistan and would assist in supplying NATO troops and play a key role in the future trade of the country. The railway line cost $ 165 million, and is the first stage in a plan to link the land-locked Afghanistan with its neighbours.

Meanwhile an agreement was signed between the UAE and the UK for building a highway in Afghanistan. The project is a part of the joint commitment by the two nations towards peace and stability in Afghanistan.
< class="text11verdana">Source: Pajhwok, December 21, 2011, Outlook Afghanistan, December 22, 2011, Khaama, December 21, 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">British PM visits troops in Kandahar

British Prime Minister David Cameron visited Service personnel from his country stationed in Afghanistan. Although he was supposed to visit troops at camp bastion in Helmand Province, he could not do so owing to adverse weather conditions. Instead, he met 400 military personnel in Kandahar.

Germany’s Defence Minister Thomas de Maiziere met with troops from his country during a surprise visit to Kunduz Province.

Five Polish soldiers were killed by a road-side Improvised Explosive Device (IED) in Ghazni Province. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack. The incident brings total foreign troop casualties to 554.
< class="text11verdana">Source: Khaama, December 21, 201,; Outlook Afghanistan, December 22, 2011, Surgar, December 21, 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Bomb blasts kill one in Dhaka

The streets of Dhaka turned violent after series of crude bombs went off on December 18, killing one and injuring several persons during clashes between police and opposition activists. Violence erupted after the police confronted Opposition party workers gathered for a rally to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Bangladesh’s Independence from Pakistan.

The law enforcement agencies claimed that the protesters were from the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party and its Islamist ally, Jamaat-e-Islami.
< class="text11verdana">Source: The Daily Star & The Associated Press, December 19, 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Myanmar to take back refugees

In an attempt to resolve the refugee issue, Myanmar has agreed to repatriate some of them from Bangladesh. Interestingly, hundreds of thousands of ethnic Rohingyas who are living in Bangladesh as refugees are not covered by this deal.

The agreement to repatriate Myanmarese refugees was concluded during a meeting earlier this month between President Thein Sein and Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Under the agreement, Myanmar will take back around 2,500 refugees.

Myanmar immigration officials claimed that ethnic Rohingyas will not be included in the repatriation as they are not Myanmar citizens but Bengalis who migrated around the time of the Second World War when both countries were under British rule.

It can be recalled that every year, thousands of Rohingyas take refuge in Bangladesh from bordering Myanmar’s northern Rakhine state. Bangladesh has repeatedly called on Myanmar to take back Rohingya.

Some 28,000 Rohingya are recognised as registered refugees and live and receive aid at an official UN camp in Bangladesh. This figure is a fraction of the 200,000-plus unofficial refugees, according to government estimates.
< class="text11verdana">Source: AFP, December 21, 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Russia’s Gazprom to drill 10 gas wells

Petrobangla Chairman Hussain Monsur claimed this week that the plan by Russian gas major Gazprom to drill 10 gas wells had been approved. The Government will sit with Gazprom officials soon to finalise negotiations before signing a deal over the drilling program.

In October this year, Gazprom proposed to drill 10 onshore gas wells on a turnkey basis at a total cost of $193.55 million, with drilling to be completed within 18 months of approval being granted. It agreed to pay five percent of the total cost as performance guarantee.

Under the work plan, Gazprom will drill five development wells in the Titas and Rashidpur gas fields and five exploration wells.
< class="text11verdana">Source:, Dec 21, 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Shortage of medicines

The Government has planned to overcome the current shortage of drugs by procuring them directly from the manufactures outside the country as a stop-gap measure to overcome the current issue.

The reasons for the current medicines shortage have not yet been identified but then the Government will look into the issue even as it takes up necessary remedial steps.
< class="text11verdana">Source:; December, 22 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">New finance instruments

In a bid to contort money supply and ensure price stability the Government will introduce two monetary instruments.

They are policy rate and base rate instruments.
< class="text11verdana">Source:; December, 21 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">King cautions against corruption

King Jigme Singe Wanchuk, while addressing the nation on the National Day,touched upon the issue of corruption within the Government.

The King said that corruption could undermine the nascent democratic process and will be dealt severely.
< class="text11verdana">Source:; December, 20 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Trade with Russia set to double

The 12th consecutive annual India-Russia summit saw the two sides taking more initiatives to boost economic ties, which have been an area of concern compared to thriving cooperation in the nuclear, defense, science and space fields and international issues, both economic and political.

A day before Prime Minister Manmohan Singh arrived in Moscow the previous weekend for his annual summit with the Russian leadership, an Indian Defence team of scientists and Defence brass returned to Delhi after inking an agreement for receiving precision signals from Glonass, Russian constellation of satellites.
< class="text11verdana">Source: The Times of India, December 19, 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Trilateral talks with US, Japan

The US, Japan and India has held their first trilateral dialogue here over a "wide range" of regional and global issues of common interest. "These discussions mark the beginning of a series of consultations among our three Governments, who share common values and interests across the Asia-Pacific and the globe," the State Department said in a statement.

Responding to the prevailing assumption that the meeting was aimed at containing China, Assistant Secretary Kurt Campbell dismissed the idea as "preposterous". Meanwhile, putting behind the acrimony over presence of the Dalai Lama in a Buddhist conference in November, India and China have decided to hold crucial boundary level talks at the Special Representative level next month.
< class="text11verdana">Source:, December 20, 2011, Hindustan Times, December 20, 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Maritime talks with Sri Lanka, Maldives

India, Sri Lanka and Maldives have formed a trilateral dialogue on maritime security at the level of the National Security Advisors (NSA), in the backdrop of China expanding its footprint in the Indian Ocean region.

The dialogue -- an idea first mooted by Maldives -- will deal with issues of maritime security, piracy, ensuring safety and security of sea lanes, sharing of best practices and disaster management, senior government officials told HT.
< class="text11verdana">Source: Hindustan Times, December 20, 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Family visas for India

The Indian Government has decided to resume issuing visas to Maldivian nationals by resolving the visa issue. First Secretary at the Indian High Commission, S C Agarwal announced that the Government of India has decided to issue family visas to the families of Maldivian students studying in India. New Delhi had recently discontinued the issuance of dependent visas in order to eliminate the possibilities of illegal activities.

A large number of Maldivians travel regularly to India for education, medical and business purposes. India and Maldives hope to find a permanent solution to the visa issue with the signing of a bilateral visa agreement.
< class="text11verdana">Source: Haveeru, December 21, 2011, Miadhu, December 22, 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Debate over protests

The planned December 23 protest for the protection of the Islam in the country has given rise to great political debate. The Civil Society Coalition and the Adhaalath Party, the main political party behind the protests, have recently called from the implementation of strict Islamic penalties like stoning, hand-cutting and execution in the country.

However, President Mohamed Nasheed has said that Maldivians do not want to implement such harsh punishments. Stressing on the need to reconsider and update the Penal Code through the parliamentary process in light of these calls, the President maintains that there is need for political discussion over the controversial claims being made against the Islamic Sharia Law.
< class="text11verdana">Source: Haveeru, December 17, 19, 21, 2011; Miadhu, December 20, 22, 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Three Bills Passed

Parliament has passed three new Bills in its current session. The three Bills are: the Health Insurance Bill, the Pre-School Bill and the National Archives Bill.

The Health Insurance Bill, piloted by Mohamed Nasheed, MP from Nolhivaram, makes it mandatory for the Government to provide health insurance to all Maldivians from 2012. The Pre-School Bill, introduced by Meedhoo MP Ahmed Siyam Mohamed is aimed at improving the quality of pre-school level education. Additionally, the Archive Bill, introduced by Manadhoo MP Mohamed Thoriq, was passed by 66 MPs.
< class="text11verdana">Source: Haveeru, December 22, 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Govt interested in ever-lasting peace

The Government has plans to resolve the conflicts that the nation has been plagued with for many decades. To this end, the Government plans to resolve all internal ethnic issues within the next three years.

Over the past few years, the Government has reached peace and ceasefire agreements with a number of groups. According toMinister for Industries and head of the Government’s Peace-making Group Aung Thaung the State is looking for ’ever-lasting peace’.
< class="text11verdana">Source:, December 17, 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Fair by-polls promised

The Election Commission has promised that the by-election to 48 Parliament seats, expected in March, will be free and fair.

The Election Commission made this announcement at a news conference in the national capital of Yangong recently.
< class="text11verdana">Source:, December 16, 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Opium production on the rise, says UN

For the fifth year in a row, opium production has been on the rise in Myanmar, according to UN reports. It went up by five per cent, from 580 to 610 tonnes between 2010 and 2011.

According to the report, steep rise in international prices, from $ 305 to $ 450 durign the period was among the reasons for the increased production.
< class="text11verdana">Source:, December, 15 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Natural gas for Thailand

Thailand’s State-run oil and gas company, PTT Plc, has received the Government’s approval to buy 2 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day for the next 20 years. Myanmarese natural gas accounts for about 30 percent of Thailand’s energy consumption.

The agreement was finalised on the side-lines of the Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra visit to Naypyidaw for the Greater Mekong Sub-region Summit. During the visit the Prime Minister also called upon Aung San Suu Kyi, the leader of the opposition.

Indecently,Yingluck Shinawatra visit to Myanmar was preceded by her brother’s visit to the country, Thaksin Shinawatra. His visit was reported to havesmothered out the road ahead of his sister’s visit.
< class="text11verdana">Source: December 21, 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">3,000 Madhesis to join army

The Government has endorsed a policy paper to make the national army more inclusive by recruiting 3,000 Madhesi youths, including women and those from the indigenous, Dalit, Muslim and backward communities from across the Tarai region.

The ruling partners -- UCPN (Maoist) and United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF) -- had agreed in principle to begin the process of recruiting Madhesis in the Nepal Army (NA) as per the four-point agreement signed between the Maoists and the Madhesi alliance on August 29. Currently, 3,000 positions are vacant in the 95,753-strong NA.

The Maoist leadership was under intense pressure from the Madhesi alliance to begin the process of recruiting Madhesis in the NA for the last few months. Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai had been negotiating for the last few weeks to forge consensus on this issues.

Leaders of Opposition parties have criticised the Cabinet decision and claimed that any bulk integration will undermine the sensitivity of the State security agencies.
< class="text11verdana">Source:, December 21, 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">PLA puts forth 10-point demand to Prachanda

The People’s Liberation Army has accused senior UCPN (Maoist) leaders of financial embezzlement over cantonment funds. A group of commanders who have rallied behind hardliner faction in the party, have submitted a ten-point demand to Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda seeking strong disciplinary action against the guilty in this regard.

Eighteen commanders led by division vice-commanders from all PLA divisions came to Kathmandu and submitted their demands to Dahal.
< class="text11verdana">Source:,, December 23, 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Nation-wide strike over Poudel murder

Nepali Congress cadres took to the streets in the capital, Kathmandu, burning tyres and obstructing transportation after the death of Shiva Poudel, who was the Chitwan district president of the party-aligned Tarun Dal. Nation-wide strikes were called for two days.

Poudel was critically injured in an attack by a group of inmates inside Bharatpur jail on December 6. He died while undergoing treatment at Neuro Hospital, Bansbari, Kathmandu, on December 17. Reportedly, Poudel was brutally attacked by a group of UML cadres inside the prison.

The Nepali Congress has demanded resignation of Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai and the home minister over the issue.
< class="text11verdana">Source:,, December 17-19, 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">10-hour power-cut for capital

The Nepal Electricity Authority has imposed a ten hour power cut per day from this week in the valley. In its new load-shedding schedule, it has said that the power cut hours may go up.

As water level in the main rivers has receded with the onset of the winter season, the electricity generation has been hit hard. All hydro-projects in Nepal are run-of-river types, except Kulekhani, which is the only reservoir type hydro-electric project, with installed capacity of 60 MW.

The on-going load-shedding is two hours more in the areas of the feeders where 40 to 50 percent of electricity leakage is recorded. Likewise, the load-shedding is three hours extra in the areas of the feeders where more than 50 percent of electricity leakage is recorded.

The power-cut time is expected to rise to 18 hours during the summer in the coming year.
< class="text11verdana">Source:, December 20, 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Disagreement true, court told

The Chief of Army Staff, Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, and DG-ISI Ahmad Shuja Pasha, have told the Supreme Court that the ’memogate scam’ was true and was aimed at discrediting the armed forces.

In their written submissions, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and Gen Kayani reiterated that there was disagreement between the civilian Government and the Army, and that both entities remained committed to their respective constitutional roles. This statement was made after a meeting between the two at the Prime Minister’s House.

Former US National Security Adviser Gen James Jones believed that it was Mansoor Ijaz who wrote the letter and former Ambassador Husain Haqqani was not involved in the scandal. Haqqani said that incidents, post-May 2 operation and the issuiance of visas to Americans were completely in line with Islamabad’s instructions.
< class="text11verdana">Source: Daily Times, December 16-18, 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Zardari returns

President Asif Ali Zardari returned after a two-week medical visit to Dubai, averting rumours about the danger to his presidency. He stayed at his son Bilawal’s house till Benazir Bhutto’s death anniversary and arrived at Islamabad to meet a Chinese delegation.

The medical team and his daughter Asifa Bhutto Zardari who had accompanied Zardari in the special plane that landed at the PAF base in Karachi said that he was completely fit.
< class="text11verdana">Source: Dawn, December 19, 22, 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Law against dual nationality

The Election Commission is all set to enforce the law underArticle 63-1(c) of the Constitution which states that a person would be disqualified as member of Parliament if he/she has acquired citizenship of a foreign State.

A summary is set to be made to make an amendment to the People’s Representtaion Act, to add a column for the above declaration. The same law is also applicable to members of Provincial Assemblies.

According to official sources, candidates in the by-election for a Senate seat from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, to be held on Jan 4, will be required to submit a declaration with their nomination papers that they have not acquired the citizenship of any other country.
< class="text11verdana">Source: Dawn, December 20, 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">US study on attacks

The US has concluded its ’fact-finding’ mission into the November 26 strikes, under the supervision of senior diplomat, Ambassador Robin Raphael. Ambassador Robin had a number of meetings with senior officials in Islamabad and Rawalpindi during her five-day stay.

Another US diplomat Richard Hoagland visited Pakistan’s former Ambassador to the US Husain Haqqani in the Prime Minister’s House on the second day of her arrival in the capital. She also had meetings with the top leaders of different political parties during her stay.
< class="text11verdana">Source: The News International, December 19, 2011.

< class="brown12verdana">Contributors:

Afghanistan: Haripal Brar;
Bangladesh: Joyeeta Bhattacharjee;
India: Satish Misra;
Myanmar & Bhutan: Sripathi Narayan;
Nepal: Akanshya Shah;
Pakistan: Astik Sinha and Aarya Venugopal;
Maldives & Sri Lanka: Preeti John;

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.


N. Sathiya Moorthy

N. Sathiya Moorthy

N. Sathiya Moorthy is a policy analyst and commentator based in Chennai.

Read More +