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Audio Overview of South Asia Issues, Wednesday, 23 January 2019

APAC Assistance Operations Assistant Bhargav Reddy discusses Main Issues in South Asia

Main Issues in South Asia

 Firstly in SRI LANKA

  • Yesterday the Narcotics Bureau officers arrested five suspects and seized 90 kgs of heroin worth more than USD 6 million in the Kollupitiya area of Colombo. Two American citizens and an Afghan national were among the five suspects arrested in the raid.
  • Drug trafficking by criminal gangs is a major concern for law enforcement agencies in Sri Lanka. More than 200 people were killed in gang-related murders in 2018 most of which were drug-related.
  • Clients are advised to be aware of the drug-related violence in Colombo and other major cities. Avoid Colombo nightlife areas where the gangs are known to be active.

PAKISTAN

  • The Supreme Court of Pakistan issued an order yesterday that all illegal encroachments and construction on government land across Karachi should be immediately demolished. The court issued the order in a case on illegal construction of commercial buildings in residential areas and on government land. The court also barred the provincial government from issuing no-objection certificates for construction of commercial buildings unless the projects are approved by the Environmental Protection Agency.
  • Land encroachment is a controversial issue in Karachi especially in impoverished neighborhoods controlled by the real-estate mafia. Previous attempts to demolish illegal constructions in Karachi last year caused violent clashes between the mafia and the police.
  • Clients are advised to ensure their office premises is within the legally constructed properties. Avoid the areas marked by the local administration for demolition where armed clashes are likely between the real estate mafia and the police.

 

Main Issues in East Asia Pacific

Firstly in THAILAND

  • Yesterday Prime Minister Prayuth said that he would consider joining any party that does not abandon the policies of the current government. He insisted that a political party must invite him to join them first. Prayuth claimed that he cannot subscribe to a party which seeks to undo everything the government has started.
  • He clarified that he has not been approached by the pro-regime Palang Pracharath Party to join it contradicting earlier statements by a few leaders of the party.

INDONESIA

  • Disruption in power supply is expected this week after a tornado hit the Jejalen area of Bekasi city east of central Jakarta yesterday. The tornado destroyed dozens of shops in the area and electric poles collapsed disrupting power supply in the region.
  • The tornado was accompanied by heavy rain and strong winds. There were no reports of casualties.
  • Clients in the area are advised to consider alternate sources for electricity to minimize the impact of disruptions.

The PHILIPPINES

  • Residents of Cotabato City on the southern island of Mindanao voted in favor of the Bangsamoro Organic Law in the plebiscite held yesterday. Over 36,682 people voted “Yes” and 24,994 people voted against the creation of a new Muslim autonomous region.
  • The referendum is expected to bring a peaceful resolution to the long-drawn conflict in Mindanao between the government forces and Islamist insurgents. Two people were killed in the Cotabato City in a bomb blast last month. The security threat level remains high in the city despite most of its residents voting for a Muslim autonomous region. Results of the referendum from other regions of the island will be finalized this week.
  • Clients in the area are advised to employ extreme caution while visiting major landmarks in the city. The security threat levels in the city remain high and the results of the referendum are unlikely to change the security paradigm immediately as the conflict in the region is more communal and tribal in nature, it goes beyond the issue of political autonomy. Avoid the areas known for armed encounters between the militants and the security forces in the southern Philippines. Monitor alerts and advisories from APAC assistance for further updates.

 

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