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Audio Overview of South Asia Issues, Tuesday, 12 March 2019

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

 

Main Issues in South Asia

PAKISTAN

  • A judge of the Lahore High Court has recused himself from hearing two petitions related to the disqualification of Prime Minister Imran Khan. A request has been sent to the Lahore High Court’s Chief Justice to nominate another judge.
  • The two petitions accuse Prime Minister Khan of concealing his alleged parentage of an individual in his nomination papers filed for 2018 general elections. Thus, violating Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution of Pakistan which sets precondition for a member of parliament, to be honest, and righteous.
  • However, according to the state lawyers, the petitioners did not belong to the Mianwali constituency from North West Punjab province from where Imran Khan had contested the election. Only a voter of the constituency can challenge the eligibility of Imran Khan.

Also, in PAKISTAN

  • Four policemen were injured yesterday in an explosion in the Main Ghundi area of Quetta in the southern province of Balochistan.
  • Rescue teams and security forces have reached the site of the incident. The blasts damaged a police vehicle.
  • Clients are advised to employ extreme caution in Balochistan as there has been an increase in roadside bomb attacks.

BANGLADESH

  • A group of Qawmi madrasa students attacked and thwarted a program yesterday held by the World Sunni Movement in Brahmanbaria Press Club in Brahmanbaria district in eastern Bangladesh. Qawmi madrassa students attacked the program attendees with sticks and stones and tore apart the banners and festoons of the organizers.
  • Police upon reaching the program venue dispersed the Qawmi madrassa students. The Sunni organization was demanding a state holiday on the occasion of Eid-e-Meraj Sharif also known as Eid-e-Merajunnabi festival.
  • Fights between Islamic groups of different sects are frequently reported in Bangladesh. Clients are advised to avoid all religious events.

Also in BANGLADESH

  • Teachers who were independent observers of the Dhaka University Central Students’ Union and hall union elections have reported irregularities during the voting period. Some student members called for fresh election due to irregularities.
  • They alleged that the ballot papers had no serial numbers which would make it very easy to rig the results. In another case, the ballots were kept outside of polling counters instead of inside a secured place.
  • Other students alleged that the Chhatra League members enjoyed a free movement in and around polling booths but other candidates and activists of other panels faced resistance leading to long queues. Many student voters left without voting.

INDIA

  • A joint statement by Army and other security agencies claimed eighteen militants were killed, out of which fourteen belonged to the Jaish-e-Mohammed terror group including its six main commanders. Eight of the killed militants were allegedly from Pakistan and ten were locals.
  • Security officials said they are still on alert and will respond any threats accordingly.

 

Main Issues in East Asia Pacific

Firstly, in INDONESIA

  • Prabowo’s running mate, Vice-Presidential candidate Sandiaga Uno said that he wants to change the free trade agreement deal with Australia if his team wins April 19 elections. He claimed that the deal was unfair to Indonesia and wants to abolish special treatment to Australian beef imports. This type of inward only focus and a lack of International awareness is a reason Probowo is trailing the outward looking Widodo 59-31% according to the latest credible poll by the Survey Network LSI.
  • Both countries signed the free trade agreement on March 4, 2019. Under the agreement 99% of Australian imports to Indonesia will be tariff-free by 2020.
  • Trade between the two countries stands at USD 11.2 billion. Indonesia is Australia’s eight largest source of imports, while Australia is Indonesia’s 14th largest export destination.

Also, in INDONESIA

  • Police have arrested two suspects alleged to be members of domestic pro-Islamic State terror group Jamaah Ansharut Daulah. The suspects were arrested from the Lampung province, South Sumatra Island and the West Kalimatan province of Borneo Island.
  • Police said both suspects wanted to attack non-believers of Islam and had plans to attack the police. Suspicious materials used to make a homemade bomb were also found during the arrest.
  • Jamaah Ansharut Daulah is a banned organization in Indonesia since 2018. The group has been accused of multiple deadly bombings in East and West Java Island in 2018. The leader of the group Aman Abdurrahman, was sentenced to death in 2018 for his alleged role in committing terror attacks in Indonesia.

THAILAND

  • The Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva said that he would not support General Prayut Chan-o-Cha’s bid for getting re-elected as prime minister. Prayut is the sole prime ministerial candidate for Palang Pracharath Party.
  • Abhisit claimed that under General Prayut Thailand’s economy has slowed down and it’s against its party ideology. Abhisit’s statement comes days before March 24 elections which is likely to become a race between pro-democracy parties and the pro-regime party.
  • However, there has been no official statement made by the Democrat party on Abhisit’s statement.

Also, in THAILAND

  • A soldier was injured by a roadside bomb in Cho Airong district of the southern Narathiwat province yesterday. The injured soldier has been sent to hospital for treatment.
  • The incident occurred near a political campaign poster of a Member of Parliament candidate of the Phue Khon Thai Party. Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon who is also defence minister said yesterday that due to increase in security measure in the southern provinces, the insurgents are setting off bombs outside the four southern provinces. This statement is of course quite unusual in admitting there was no plan for adjoining provincial security that could defend the people or stop attacks there.
  • Intelligence officials have issued a warning of expanding bombing acts by insurgents and recommend tight security until the March 24 election to avoid creating panic among the general public. The statement being somewhat unusual given the post election period will be as tenuous or perhaps even more tenuous than the existent security paradigm.

PAPUA NEW GUINEA

  • A fight broke out between youths from different ethnic groups in the Kokopo town of the southern East New Britain The fight involved knives and other weapons.
  • Local villagers attacked a settlement burning down houses and other properties. One person was hospitalized.
  • Situation is still tense, amid fears of another fight between the different ethnic groups. Clients are advised to employ extreme caution while traveling in the East New Britain province.

THE PHILIPPINES

  • Five militants who are alleged members of Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters have been killed by air and artillery attacks this week.
  • According to Police, the members belonged to a faction led by Abu Toraife. He is the leader of one of the three factions in the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters.
  • The Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters have declared its allegiance to Islamic State. The group has been blamed for recent bombings on the Mindanao Island.

SOUTH KOREA

  • South Korea’s military yesterday said that it was closely monitoring North Korean facilities for a possible long-range missile or space launch. The statement came after there was increase in activity in two launch sites including the Samundong missile research facility near Pyongyang and Sohae rocket-testing facility in the North Pyongan province.
  • The increased activity comes after the United States and North Korea failed to reach an agreement last month during their bilateral summit in Hanoi. The United States National Security Adviser John Bolton said that President Donald Trump would be very disappointed if there is a new missile test by North Korea.
  • After the failed summit, President Trump has remained positive about North Korea saying that the deal between the two nations is still possible.
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