MonitorsPublished on Oct 21, 2011
Pakistan is facing an unprecedented power crisis, the worst in its history, with the deficit estimated to be over 8,000 MW. Rather than a shortage in its installed capacity.
Worst-ever power crisis hits Pakistan
< class="heading1">Analysis

Pakistan is facing an unprecedented power crisis, the worst in its history, with the deficit estimated to be over 8,000 MW. Rather than a shortage in its installed capacity, this power crisis has been mainly attributed to the Government’s inability to pay its electricity bills to the power generating companies, who in turn are unable to pay gas and oil suppliers, thereby forcing them to cut supply. As a consequence, the country is experiencing power-cuts for more than 14 hours in urban areas and up to 20 hours in some rural areas. This has led to disturbances in the cycle of tube- wells and the main filtration plants at Tawal and Khapur, resulting in a severe shortage of irrigation and drinking water supplies in these regions.

Apart from the setback caused by the floods and the general lull attributable to global recession, the recent energy crisis has generated a direct circular debt of P-Rs 300 billion that is likely to affect financial institutions. According to the Planning Commission, the crisis has left around 25,000 industrial units sick and 400,000 unemployed. Around 20 per cent of locally-made power-looms have been abandoned and imported machinery re-exported to India, Bangladesh, etc. The cloth industry that accounts to 60 percent of the country’s export revenue is fast shutting down as factory owners are forced to sell their looms owing to 12-16 hour power-cuts, thereby leaving thousands unemployed.

On the brighter side, in the manufacturing sector, demand for products, particularly textiles, automobiles, fertilisers, cement, etc, remain strong. However, despite this strong demand, there is an acute constraint in supply due to the shortfall in energy generation. According to the State Bank of Pakistan’s quarterly report, the most serious manifestation of this crisis is the loss of credibility in the international market due to an erratic supply of goods. The reduction in official working days to five days a week adopted as a measure by the Government to contain the spiralling power crisis has only exacerbated the issue. The growth rate of 2.4 per cent is more revealing than anything else. Growth has been severely hampered as the Government had to divert funds in to disaster management along with the ongoing military operations.

However, hope still remains for lightening up the grim picture. For this, Pakistan needs to only take a glance backward. Pakistan was a power-surplus country during 1995-2005. In 1994, the Government of Pakistan People’s Party successfully chalked out a power policy and signed agreements with many independent power generation companies, enabling the country to generate 3000MW of surplus electricity, up from a shortfall of 2,400MW.

Examining how an energy-surplus country like Pakistan is today facing its worst-ever energy crisis will give insights to understand the situation better. Power-play between political parties led the successor Government of the rival Pakistan Muslim League (N) to scrap the 1994 policy citing reasons such as high-tariffs. According to experts, the unexpected growth rate during 2003-2007 placed added pressure, the rise in the price of furnace oil in 2007, incompletion of power projects as expected, implementation of wrong policies and lack of any serious effort by the Government have all contributed to the current situation.

The power-crisis is therefore only a symptom of a larger and increasing incapacity of the present Government to handle these situations. One of the most disturbing factors is the callous attitude of the civilian government towards the complex state of affairs that requires more innovative policies and resolutions. However, the political class in Pakistan that is infamous for its feudal ties is without doubt, failing to fulfil its role in governance.

The real force to be reckoned with is the civil society that can force the Government into action but its voice is still indistinct. Several cities such as Lahore, Peshawar, Karachi, Islamabad, and Faisalabad have witnessed mass demonstrations, many of them leading to violent riots. However, this has not led to a powerful movement that can take on the State machinery. Arguments such as Pakistan not having a civil society, it being a divided country that lacks the required tools to organise a mass movement does not hold ground. History of mass movements in Pakistan has demonstrated that it possesses the power to alter the political landscape of the country. The lawyers’ movement in 2007 is just one among many examples. The civil society needs to gain momentum on this issue, too.

(The writer is a Research Intern at Observer Research Foundation)

< class="heading1">Country Reports

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Hillary addresses twin issues

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s visit to Pakistan had a dual mission to pressurise Pakistan to act against the Haqqani network and also to address the issues that have constrained U.S-Pakistan relations. However, the prerequisite for continuing the relationship is to sever ties with the terror network. She reiterated the blunt message from the Obama Administration that the people of Pakistan had to be part of the solution against the ’war on terror’.

Clinton also engaged with the Pakistani public which involves civil society leaders, women and business leaders to appeal on matters of militancy.
< class="text11verdana">Source: Dawn, October 20, 21, 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Army chief cautions US on attacks

Pakistan army Chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, has ruled out the possibility of an immediate unilateral US military offensive in North Waziristan, saying the Americans will have to think 10 times before going for this. He, however, stopped short of stating Pakistan’s response in such an eventuality. He added that Pakistan was a nuclear power and must not be compared with Iraq and Afghanistan.

The army chief said Pakistan wanted peace and stability in Afghanistan so that it did not face any challenge from its eastern and western borders. He also said that it had been conveyed to the US that Pakistan had a long-term interest in the region and would not like to lose its long-term interest for short-term gains.

In a surprise affirmation Gen Kayani said the US had been told that Pakistan did not need military aid, adding that he had received a call from Washington asking if he meant it. He answered by saying "we mean what we say". He said only 20 per cent of the $1.5 billion aid under the Kerry-Lugar bill had so far been received.
< class="text11verdana">Source: The Dawn, October 19, 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">CSCSC visits US to attend Chief of Defence Staff Conference

The Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee General Khalid Shameem Wynne is on a visit to Oahu in Hawaii, USA to attend the Chief of Defence Staff Conference. The conference is being hosted by the US Pacific Command and provides an opportunity for bilateral consultations on multifaceted security issues other than multilateral engagements. On the sidelines of the event, Chairman held bilateral meetings with Admiral Willard Commander US Pacific Command, Chief of Defence Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Nepal, New Zealand, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Vice Chief of Defence Australia.
< class="text11verdana">Source: Associated Press Pakistan, October 20, 2011;, October 20, 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Navy modernisation on cards

The government of Pakistan is focusing on modernising its navy, which is imperative in the wake of the international war against terror and protection of Pakistan’s maritime frontier.

The newly appointed naval Chief, Admiral Asif Sandila, met with Defence Minister Ahmad Mukhtar and was assured of the government’s resolve to strengthen and upgrade its armed forces.

Earlier, Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani had also directed the Naval Chief to encourage recruitment of Baloch youth in the Navy similar to the recent inductions by the Pakistan Army. He added that recruitment centers, educational institutions and hospitals must be developed by the navy in remote and less developed areas of the country especially in Balochistan, Sindh and Southern Punjab. In his view completion of the road between Gwadar and Ratodero would connect the port city with the rest of the country, boost trade and also increase the operational activities at the port.
< class="text11verdana">Source: Associated Press of Pakistan, October 17, 2011; Dawn, October 19, 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Fazlullah vows war for Shariat

Afghanistan-based Taliban leader Maulvi Fazullah, also known as ’FM mullah’ for his radio broadcasts, vowed to return to Pakistan to wage war to get the Shariat implemented in the Malakand region and rest of the country.

He was the Taliban leader in the SWAT Valley until the army offensive in 2009 forced him to flee. He was extremely sceptical of the government’s suggestion for peace talks. According to him, the government approaches these leaders whenever relations with the U.S become unfriendly.
< class="text11verdana">Source: Dawn, October 21, 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Leakage in Karachi n-plant

The Karachi Nuclear Power Plant imposed a seven-hour emergency after a leakage of heavy water from a feeder pipe to the reactor. According to officials there is no damage or radiation. The power plant supplies 80 MW of power the Karachi Electricity Supply Company. However, the plant was shut down for maintenance since October 5.

Environmentalists raised concerns over safety measures and protocols after the leakage. Pakistan Peace Council General Secretary, BM Kutty, said that the nuclear power plant was actually non-productive and was posing serious threat to human life and coastal environment.
< class="text11verdana">Source: The Daily Times, October 20, 21, 2011; Dawn, October 20, 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Funds for hydro-power plant

Run-of-the-river Patrind hydropower plant near Muzaffarabad will be funded by The Asian Development Bank (ADB). ADB Board of Directors’ approved a sum of $97 million. This project once operational will help the current energy crisis the county is facing and also help create jobs for thousands. It is Republic of Korea’s first investment in the power sector of Pakistan. The loan is being provided to Star Hydro Power Limited, which is jointly owned by Korea Water Resources Corporation (K-water), along with Daewoo Engineering and Construction Company and Sambu Construction Company.
< class="text11verdana">Source: Express Tribune, October 16, 2011.

Sri Lanka
< class="heading12boldGeorgia">US team pat for reconciliation

The efforts of the Sri Lankan Government in post-war reconciliation and development have been acknowledged and appreciated by a US Congressional delegation.

Led by Rep. Albert Benjamin of North Carolina and Georgia’s Jack Hedens Kingston, the delegation praised the tremendous progress made by Sri Lanka in the months since the end of the civil war and the defeat of the LTTE and said that the country had a promising future.

External Affairs Minister Prof G.L. Peiris recently stressed on the importance of the international community acknowledging and promoting the efforts undertaken in reconciling former LTTE operatives as well as war affected areas. The war torn Northern Province has seen considerable progress through the development of rail roads and highways and the revival of agricultural and fishing activities.

Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to the US, Jaliya Wickramasurya also said that the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) plays an important role in the post war efforts, which has been recognized by the UN too.
< class="text11verdana">Source: Daily News, October18, 19, 20, 21, 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Strengthening ties with Vietnam

Bilateral ties between Sri Lanka and Vietnam have been strengthened with the signing of eight Memorandum of understanding (MoU) agreements by Presidents Mahinda Rajapaksa and Truong Tan Sang, during the latter’s official 3-day state visit earlier last week.

The eight areas under which the MoUs have been signed are politics, finance, industry, education, defence cooperation and investment promotion.

The two countries are also looking to increase two way trade to US$ 1 billion in the coming years with the signing of a gas and oil cooperation pact.

President Sang said that he hopes both countries will continue to cooperate on a number of areas and maintain good political relations.

Sri Lanka is looking forward to Vietnam’s assistance in boosting the foreign direct investment into the country.
< class="text11verdana">Source: Sunday Observer, October 14, 2011;, October 15, 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Defence Ministry renamed

The Defence Ministry has been rechristened the Defence and Urban Development Ministry. Mr Lalith Weeratunga, Secretary to the President, said that the decision has been made keeping in the mind the ministry’s current tasks and missions, and the 2012 budget allocation will take the new reality into account.

As may be recalled, the Urban Development Authority came under the Defence Ministry after President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s re-election in January 2010. Earlier, after President Rajapaksa assuming office for the first time in 2005, the Police Department was brought back under the Defence Ministry after a few years’ gap.
< class="text11verdana">Source: Daily News, October 17, 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">35 pc GDP investment by 2016

The Government has announced that it hopes to achieve 35 percent GDP investment by 2016, with a majority of that being from the private sector. The private, domestic and foreign sector is expected to contribute 28 per cent of the GDP investment, while the government will contribute 6 per cent.

Measures adopted to ensure this goal is met include a lowering of interest rates, tax system reforms, banking sector reforms. The government also expects increased investment in the tourism, manufacturing, urban development and IT/BPO sectors.
< class="text11verdana">Source: Sunday Observer,October 16, 2011

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">$ 222 ADB aid for roads, railways

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has pledged $222 million in aid to Afghanistan for the construction of 145 km of roads and establishment of an independent railways department, according to a contract that was signed between ADB’s Country Director Robert Rinker and Finance Minister Hazrat Omar Zakhilwal in Kabul.

About $189 million would be spent on the construction of a 50 km of the Kabul- Jalalabad dual road. A 51 km road between Jabalus Saraj and Nijrab and another 44 km road between Baharak and Faizabad would also be constructed and the remaining amount would be used to establish an independent railways department.

ADB Vice President Xiaoyu Zhao said that road infrastructure is necessary for Afghanistan’s economic development and he assured the country of sustainable assistance. Zakhilwal said the bank had previously pledged $2.2 billion in assistance but only $1.7 billion had been received and that most part of it would be incorporated in the government budget.
< class="text11verdana">Source: Outlook Afghanistan, October 20, 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Capacity development MoU with India

Afghanistan and India signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for cooperation in the field of public sector capacity development in Afghanistan, following the visit of President Hamid Karzai when the countries agreed on a strategic partnership on security and economic alliance.

The MoU was signed by the Indian Labour and Employment Minister Mallikarjun Kharge with Afghan Labour, Social Affairs, Martyrs and Disabled Minister Amena Afzali. Khage said India and Afghanistan shared warm and cordial relations based on historical and cultural links, ning over centuries. He also said that India can share the details of its various schemes in the area of skill development, health insurance, social security etc.

The funds to execute the development activities under the agreement will be provided by the National Institution Building Project (NIBP) which has been set up for Afghanistan capacity building and mobilized from different sources. Under this Agreement, there will be provision of advisory services, strategy development and systems improvement for the specific needs of Afghanistan’s capacity development.
< class="text11verdana">Source: Outlook Afghanistan, October 15, 2011

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">’Big Two’ squabble again

Opposition party leader Khaleda Zia alleged that the present Government is characterised by ’anti-liberation elements’ and urged citizens to cast out the Awami League government at a public meeting of the BNP-led four party alliance road march. She charged the government of signing secret deals with the Indian government, making Bangladesh subservient to the former. She cited reports of garment industries being sold to ’foreigners’.

She also criticised the Government for arresting several BNP leaders and their allies including Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury, Matiur Rahman Nizami, Delwar Hossain Saydee and Quader Mollah of Jamaat-e-Islami. The issue of Indian border guards shooting innocent Bangladeshis in a consistent manner was also brought to the forefront and the inability and unwillingness of the Bangladeshi government to register any protest was condemned by the opposition. They advocated that a government that cannot even protest the killing of its own innocents has no right to remain in power and must be ousted. Khaleda Zia also inquired as to how the Prime Minister Hasina always travelled abroad while Bangladeshis starved.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in retort severely criticised the BNP for their policy corruption, terrorism ad involvement in militancy. She accused Khaleda Zia of trying to create conditions of anarchy and instability and further said that the PadmaRiver project was stopped due to corruption during the BNP-Jammat government tenure.
< class="text11verdana">Source:, October 20th, 2011;, October 20, 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Urban forum with UN help

The Bangladeshi Government in cooperation with the UN is launching the ’Urban Development Forum’ in December for planned urbanisation in the nation. Bangladesh has been undergoing rapid urbanisation with its urban population growing from 1.9million in 1950 to a staggering 46.1 million in 2010.

According to Dr Nazrul Islam, an urban planning expert said the UDF was formed in the light of urban sector development of the 6th Five Year Plan. He also elaborated that 4.5crore people live in cities, that is 30% of the total population, and that by 2030 nearly 80 million people will live in cities and towns. He therefore, advocated that urbanization is a facilitator of economic growth and claimed that the UDF would develop effective policies for reduction of urban poverty.

The initial plan is for the United Nations to fund the Urban Development Forum and then to be followed up and financed by the government as its own institution.
< class="text11verdana">Source:, October 20, 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Bank urged to reconsider withdrawal

The Bangladesh Government has made a plea to the World Bank to reconsider its decision to revoke $1.2 billion. The finance was being provided for the construction of the nations’ longest RiverBridge over River Padma that would connect the northwest of the country to the capital Dhaka and the port of Chittagong in the south.

The flow of money was stalled after alleged reports of corruption were levelled against SNV-Lavalin the Canadian Engineering company that has undertaken the tender for the project. However, the government reiterated that concerns about any corruption and it would be rooted out.
< class="text11verdana">Source:, October 20, 2011

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Trade with Germany improves

Germany being the largest economy in Europe is also the largest export destination for Bangladeshi products in the European Union. In an effort to capitalise on this, a high powered business delegate is set to visit Germany in the forthcoming week to woo German business persons to invest more in Bangladesh and thereby increasing buyers. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is also scheduled to visit the country for a business forum on October 24 and the German President Christian Wulff is set to visit Bangladesh on November 28, 2011. ’Branding’ Bangladesh during these visits is seen to be crucial to reduce the negative image about the country being inflicted with natural disasters and child labour.
< class="text11verdana">Source: Daily Star, October 20, 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Rongthong Kunley Dorji dead

The passing way of founder of Druk National Congress Ronthong Kunley Dorji shocked many in and inside Bhutan. There is belief and inspiration that Dorji’s death will not mean a setback in the democratic struggle .

According to many in the Bhutan National Democratic Party on his demise the Bhutan democratic movement had lost a charismatic leader whose absence will be felt deeply by the freedom-loving people of Bhutan both in exile and inside the country.

Dorji is said to have given up a life of luxury to work with the most suppressed section of the people, and remains a true personality leader and champion of Bhutanese democratic movement whose contribution in setting up a constitutional democracy is still acclaimed.
< class="text11verdana">Source:, October 20th, 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Stress on preserving culture

There is increasing significance being given to the need for preserving the culture and traditions of the Bhutanese people even in the age of globalization where national identities apparently seem to matter less and less.

According to the Tourism Ministry, even visitors to Bhutan leave with a happy and positive impression. Here in comes the significance of ’preserving what is ours’. Even while the country changes from largely rural to urban, many core values of tradition like family, community, traditional social systems seem to be transforming too. As a vulnerable nation, Bhutanese tradition needs to be carried forward not only as a legacy but also for a strongly directed future. This is seen as the utmost need of the present.
< class="text11verdana">Source:, October 14th, 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Europe, US told to resolve debt-mess

Leaders from India, Brazil and South Africa urged the world’s rich countries on Tuesday to contain their financial crisis and prevent the global economy from slipping into double dip recession.

Speaking at the fifth India, Brazil South Africa (IBSA) summit in Pretoria, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said financial turmoil in Europe, the United States and Japan was hurting developing countries.

"Developing countries cannot remain untouched by the negative impact of these developments," Singh said.

"We hope that effective steps will be taken by Europe and other economies to calm the capital and financial markets to prevent the global economy from slipping into a double dip recession."

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, attending her first IBSA summit, called for an end to currency protectionism and for strong commitments from the world’s economic giants to control the debt crisis on the periphery of the euro zone.

"We need a credible agreement from European countries to prevent the crisis from getting out of control. We cannot be held hostage of old fashioned visions or paradigms," she said.
< class="text11verdana">Source:, October 18, 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">’IMF should look for alternatives’

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) must look for alternatives to augment its resources for combating the sovereign debt problems of the European nations, without derailing the agreed quota reforms, says India’s Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee.

"Augmentation of IMF and World Bank resources are needed, but IMF resource mobilization should not take place at the cost of New Arrangements to Borrow (NAB)," he told reporters here.

The resources of the IMF have gone up to $ 750 billion from $ 250 during the last three years. It is not yet clear on the quantum of funds that would be required to deal with the current crisis.
< class="text11verdana">Source:, October 14, 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Sixth largest contributor to global wealth

India remains a study in contrasts. Even as the public policy discourse is grappling with what is sufficient to survive a day, a report by a leading international bank has found that the country has become the sixth highest contributor to global wealth increase.

In 2011, India’s total wealth rose by $1.3 trillion to reach $4.1 trillion and in five years is projected to double this figure to $8.9 trillion. This is equivalent to growth in wealth in the United States in the three decades between 1916 and 1946.

The "Global Wealth Report" released by Credit Suisse Research Institute has said that even as the ranks of the middle class and wealthy are swelling, there continues to remain significant wealth disparity. The report has found that 43 per cent of adults have wealth below $1,000 per adult, well above the world average of 27 per cent. At the opposite end of the scale, 0.4 per cent has wealth over $1, 00,000 per adult.
< class="text11verdana">Source: Indian Express, October 20, 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">India, US to enhance collaboration

In a bid to strengthen and deepen its strategic partnership with the United States, India will set up a "higher education platform" to enhance collaboration in research, skill development and student and faculty exchange. The announcement came as the first ever India-US education summit wrapped up in Washington. Both countries stressed on the need to enhance the scope of collaboration and identify new ways to encourage linkages and exchange programmes.

In a joint statement on higher education cooperation US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and human resources development minister Kapil Sibal agreed to make the higher education dialogue an annual bilateral event to "map out strategies for partnership in the field of education" between the two countries.
< class="text11verdana">Source: The Economic Times, October 15, 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">China calls for peaceful actions

China on Friday urged Vietnam and India to take positive steps toward regional stability, in response to a deal on oil exploration in the South China Sea the two nations signed earlier this week

"China has indisputable sovereignty over NanshaIslands and the surrounding waters. Our stance and related claims are constant and clear", Foreign Affairs spokesman Liu Weimin said at a regular news conference.

"We have noticed the reports (on the oil exploration deal) and hope related parties instead take positive steps to ensure peace and stability in the South China Sea area," he said.

On October 12, India and Vietnam linked an agreement on oil exploration in the South China Sea after Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh discussed issues including the regional situation.
< class="text11verdana">Source:, October 15, 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Brahmos in Arunachal Pradesh

Pressing ahead with the second phase of military expansion along the China front, the government has given the go-ahead to deployment of Brahmos cruise missiles in Arunachal Pradesh. This will be India’s first offensive tactical missile deployment against China, sources said.

The three Brahmos missile regiments raised so far have been deployed in the western sector to counter the Pakistan threat. This will be the fourth regiment.

With a range of 290 km, these cruise missiles are being deployed to improve India’s military reach into the Tibet Autonomous Region and counter China’s elaborate missile deployment along the Sino-Indian border.

This, sources said, dovetails with India’s second expansion plan but is being fast-tracked because of urgency shown by the armed forces.
< class="text11verdana">Source: The Indian Express, October 17, 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">US-Pakistan conflict will hit India

At a time when US-Pakistan relations have hit an all time low, foreign minister S. M. Krishna on Thursday came up with his own advice to diffuse the situation. Describing the US and Pakistan as friendly powers, Krishna said they should sit across the table and sort out their differences to prevent any devastating consequences for other countries, particularly India.

Krishna’s description of US and Pakistan as friendly powers comes at a time when government officials and experts believe that US for the first time seems keen on calling Islamabad’s bluff in not reining in the Haqqani network. As US increases troop presence at the Af-Pak border near Waziristan, Pakistani army chief Ashfaq Pervez Kayani is reported have warned Washington that Pakistan cannot be treated like Afghanistan and Iran because it is a nuclear power.
< class="text11verdana">Source: Times of India, October 21, 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">US companies lobbying hard

Aiming to grab a pie of India’s robust economic growth, at least a dozen US-based corporate giants are lobbying hard with their lawmakers to help them enter or expand further in this fast-growing market. The issues, on which these companies are lobbying with the US Government range from facilitating the market access to easing of foreign investment rules in India to help further expansion of their businesses here, show the lobbying disclosure reports filed by them with the US Senate.

These large US-based multinationals include the likes of the world’s largest retailer Wal-Mart Stores, the coffee shop giant Starbucks and financial services majors Morgan Stanley, New York Life Insurance and Prudential Financial.

Besides, technology major Intel, chemicals major Dow Chemical, pharma giant Pfizer, telecom majors AT&T, Alcatel-Lucent, as well as defence and aerospace giants like Boeing, Raytheon and Lockheed Martin are soliciting the support of the US government for furthering their Indian business interests.
< class="text11verdana">Source: Hindustan Times, October 17, 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">France promises n-safety

Amid mounting concerns here over safety, France on Thursday assured India of following stringent standards at the two nuclear reactors it plans to set up in Jaitapur. The two countries also resolved to deepen their strategic ties in areas ranging from terrorism to global financial reforms.

External Affairs Minister SM Krishna discussed a host of bilateral issues with his French counterpart Alain Juppe that included civil nuclear cooperation and expanded cooperation in defence and civilian space.

The two sides also decided to deepen their cooperation in combating piracy and counter-terrorism.
< class="text11verdana">Source:, October 21, 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Indian PM to address Parliament

The Maldivian parliament has passed a proposal to invite the Indian Prime Minsiter, Dr. Manmohan Singh, to address the session during his visit to the islands-nation.

Dr. Singh will be attending the SAARC summit in the Maldives to be held from 10-11 November, 2011. During his visit, he will be invited to address the People’s Majlis.

The acceptance of the proposal in the Majlis comes after an amendment to the parliament’s rules of procedure which now allows foreign heads of state to address a session.

The invite will now be extended to the Indian Government.
< class="text11verdana">Source: Heveeru, October 19, 2011; Miadhu News, October 20, 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Velezinee appointed Deputy Minister

Aishath Velenzinee is the new Deputy Minister for Home Affairs. A former presidential nominated member of the Judicial Services Commission (JSC), Velenzinee was appointed to the new post by President Mohamed Nasheed on October 20, 2011.

As member of the JSC, Velenzinee was attacked in March of this year. She has maintained a critical view of the troubled judiciary system in Maldives. Her new role is expected to bring some respite to a government that is facing some harsh criticism from its opponents.
< class="text11verdana">Source: Haveeru, October 20, 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Second Chance Programme Goes On

The Maldivian Government’s commendable Second Chance Programme is continuing, despite recent criticism, with the Department of Penitentiary and Rehabilitation Service (DPRS) releasing 70 more prisoners this week.

Under the Second Chance Programme convicts are released from prison into the care of their families with the sole purpose of giving them a second chance at rehabilitation into society and leading a reformed life.

However, recently a few convicts released through the programme have been apprehended for theft and drug possession, giving rise to criticism and the need for such an initiative.

Home Minister Mohamed ’Monaza’ Naeem, who is also in charge of the DPRS, stressed the importance of family responsibility in keeping the convicts from indulging in anti-social behaviour, while appealing to the released convicts to appreciate their second chance. He also emphasising on the need for all convicts to continue participating in the DPRS sponsored rehabilitation programmes.

Of the 200 prisoners released, only eight have been taken back into custody for partaking in criminal activities, said Naeem, alluding to the success of the programme.
< class="text11verdana">Source: Haveeru, October 19-20, 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">PM visit underscores strengthening ties with India

Prime Minister Dr Baburam Bhattarai came to Delhi for a four-day official visit, which started on October 20.

The India-educated Prime Minister held a closed-door meeting with Dr Manmohan Singh on Friday during which the two sides discussed issues of mutual concern. Singh raised India’s security concerns with Bhattarai. The two sides have agreed to strengthen the existing bilateral mechanisms on border management and other issues like fake Indian currency racket, cross-border crime and others.

Most significantly, the two countries signed the investment protection agreement known as BIPPA which will assure safety and security to the Indian investors in Nepal. Another agreement was also signed on $250 million line of credit to Nepal. This credit will be utilized in upgrading and strengthening existing power transmission lines and also for the construction of new transmission lines.

The Nepali PM has said that a "new chapter" in Indo-Nepal relations have begun with his visit, which also provided an opportunity to improve his party’s, the UCPN (Maoist), ties with India.

Similarly, a memorandum of understanding has been signed on health assistance for goiter control.

However, the much-awaited Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) could not be signed during the visit. A DTAA between the two neighbours would embody modern principles for creating a better investment environment and reducing the cost of doing business.

DTAA remained a debated issue during high-level talks. India wanted to add one more clause in the draft DTAA that the Nepal cabinet had endorsed. The current draft of the agreement was cleared by the cabinet almost eight months ago during Jhalanath Khanal´s tenure as prime minister.

However, it is now said that Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee will be visiting Nepal within a month to sign the DTAA once the differences are sorted out.
< class="text11verdana">Source:, October 22, 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Six die in army plane crash

A Nepal Army Islander plane (RAN 49 BN 2T) carrying six persons -- five army bmen and a civilian -- en route to Kathmandu from Nepalgunj met with an accident at Bowang-9 of Baglung district at around 7:15 pm, Tuesday.

The bodies of all the six deceased along with the wreckage of the plane were found at the crash site.

Army spokesperson, Ramindra Chettri, said that two crew members and four passengers--a doctor, a medical assistant, a patient and a relative of the patient -- were on board.

Pilots--Bishal Singh Rathod and Diwakar Karki--,Dr Rabita Pathak of Kathmandu, soldiers Milan Gotame of Bhaktapur and Keshav Aedi of Baitadi and his brother Ram Aedi were on board.

The plane was carrying Keshav Aedi to Kathmandu for treatment who was suffering from meningitis.
< class="text11verdana">Source:, October 18, 2011.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">PM sacks Sah? Bhandari

Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai sacked Defence Minister Sharat Singh Bhandari and Land Reforms Minister Prabhu Sah.

Opposition parties had been disrupting House proceedings since October 13 saying that Sah was involved in the murder of Kashi Nath Tiwari, chairman of Hindu Yuva Sangh, and Bhandari had aired secessionist views.

Bhattarai decided to sack Bhandari after MJF-Democratic party’s political committee failed to persuade Bhandari, an MJF-D leader, to step down.

Prime Minister Bhattarai said he decided to sack both the tainted ministers for the sake of peace and constitution-drafting processes, the twin goals before the country. "Issues of nationalism, territorial integrity and sovereignty are undisputed agenda of all the parties," he said, referring to Bhandari’s controversial statement that ’no constitution can prevent the 22 districts in the Tarai-Madhes if they choose to secede."

"The issue of democracy, rule of law and human rights are also common agenda of all the parties," he said indicating towards the remarks made by opposition parties regarding Sah’s alleged involvement in Tiwari’s murder. He said Sah’s case was sub judice and the court of law would settle it in due course of time. On Bhandari’s remark, the PM said the country could not compromise on nationalism, sovereignty and its territorial integrity.
< class="text11verdana">Source:, October 19, 2011.

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