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CrisisWatch Database

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Sri Lanka

  |  1 Oct 2014

Unchanged

Ruling UPFA coalition 20 Sept won narrow victory in Uva provincial polls with much reduced margins from previous elections, despite large-scale illegal use of state resources for govt candidates, violence against opposition campaigners. Strong performance of main opposition UNP seen as increasing likelihood of early presidential election, expected Jan 2015. Militant Buddhist Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) 28 Sept held large rally of monks in Colombo in “defense of Buddhism”; attended by Myanmar’s Ashin Wirathu, accused of inciting deadly anti-Muslim violence. UN human rights chief Zeid 25 Sept urged govt to end “climate of intimidation, threat and harassment against civil society actors”, incitement to hatred and violence against Muslims, Christians; called for enhanced accountability. In UNGA speech President Rajapaksa 25 Sept rejected OHCHR war crimes investigation as unbalanced, politically motivated. Police detained Catholic priest in Jaffna early Sept for allegedly gathering evidence for OHCHR. Govt 10 Sept proposed long-promised witness and victim protection law in parliament seeking to address international concerns over accountability.

Nepal

  |  1 Oct 2014

Unchanged

All-party conference on constitution drafting process scheduled for 16 Sept postponed following boycott by extra-parliamentary party alliance led by Communist Party Nepal-Maoists (CPN-M); CPN-M alleged conference would fail to address CPN-M concerns. CPN-M organised several protests against Nepal-India power trade agreement signed early month.

Kashmir

  |  1 Oct 2014

Unchanged

Pakistani govt’s efforts to normalise relations with India through trade liberalisation jeopardised by sporadic clashes along Line of Control (LoC), Pakistani military’s reported attempts to use anti-govt protests in Islamabad to pressure PM Sharif to further relinquish control over foreign policy. Sharif called for international support to resolve Kashmir dispute in UNGA speech late month; Indian PM Modi questioned Sharif’s highlighting of Kashmir issue, offered bilateral talks but rejected dialogue under “shadow of terrorism”. Pakistani Islamic militant group Lashkar-e-Tayyaba provided assistance to flood-affected population in Punjab and Azad Jammu and Kashmir, leader Hafiz Saeed accused India of deliberately allowing waters to flood Pakistan; claims echoed by Islamist Jamaat-i-Islami. PMs Sharif and Modi exchanged letters offering assistance in relief efforts. Pakistani high commissioner Abdul Basit mid-month met Indian Foreign Secretary Singh following Aug cancellation of FM-level talks. Several militants reported killed by security forces including three alleged Jaish-e-Muhammad members 2 Sept in Pulwama district; Lashkar-e-Tayyaba commander killed in Kupwara district 9 Sept; several militants killed along LoC, including four in clashes 20 Sept.

Bangladesh

  |  1 Oct 2014

Unchanged
Awami League (AL) won significant political victories, moved to consolidate power: Supreme Court 14 Sept rejected appeals by opposition Bangladesh National Party (BNP) leader Khaleda Zia in embezzlement case; possibility of life sentence. Parliament 17 Sept unanimously passed controversial constitutional amendment giving it power to impeach Supreme Court judges, signed by President Hamid late Sept. Three BNP leaders, 38 other BNP and Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI) members indicted 1 Sept for violence during 2013 election-related demonstrations. Major protests in Dhaka against 17 Sept Supreme Court decision to commute death sentence of JeI leader to life imprisonment; demonstrators demanded death sentence, JeI called for a two-day strike to condemn Sayeedi’s conviction.

Afghanistan

  |  1 Oct 2014

Unchanged

Presidential candidates Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah 21 Sept signed agreement on unity govt: Ghani to assume presidency, Abdullah new position of chief executive officer. Independent Election Commission (IEC) same day declared Ghani winner of June run-off vote, said no formal result will be announced. Ghani, Abdullah inaugurated 29 Sept; new govt next day signed long-delayed Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) with U.S.. Deal followed pressure from international donors for negotiated settlement rather than outright victory partly due to threats of violence from Abdullah’s supporters and flawed ballot audit. Members of parliament’s lower house 8 Sept urged candidates to end electoral crisis citing economic and security implications of continued deadlock; Balkh provincial governor and prominent Abdullah supporter Atta Mohammed Noor 11 Sept accused President Karzai of colluding with IEC and Ghani in rigging vote, said unwilling to accept govt elected through fraud. Independent Electoral Complaint Commission (IECC) 15 Sept announced 1,683 of 2,200 complaints registered by Abdullah’s team legitimate; finding not enough to put Abdullah in lead. Violence intensified with months-long political deadlock boosting insurgency: attacks escalated over past months despite previous years seeing decrease in late summer. Interior ministry 1 Sept reported at least 41 Taliban killed across country; officials 4 Sept claimed 22 insurgents killed in Logar province, Taliban said dozens of police killed or injured; at least 48 insurgents reported killed in Balkh province 7 Sept. Taliban fighters 14 Sept entered main bazaar, attacked administrative HQ in Helmand’s Sangin district; local officials warned district could fall to insurgents. Similar warnings from Ghazni officials after more than 100 reported killed in Ajrestan district during late-month Taliban assault. Seven killed in Taliban suicide attack near Kabul airport on inauguration day 29 Sept.

Pakistan

  |  1 Oct 2014

Unchanged

Continued signs military exploiting protests by Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Tahirul Qadri’s Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) to influence politics: PTI president Javed Hashmi 1 Sept said military elements encouraged Khan-led protests; Khan 16 Sept claimed army chief said govt would meet all protest demands except PM’s resignation. Joint session of parliament 19 Sept condemned protests. Govt negotiations with PTI and PAT suspended after police arrested over 500 protestors in Islamabad and Lahore 12 Sept; majority quickly released, charges dropped. Over 300 killed, hundreds of thousands displaced by flooding in Punjab and Pakistan-administered Kashmir, adding to almost 1mn displaced by ongoing military operation in N Waziristan. Jihadi organisations continued to exploit govt failure to provide adequate assistance: offered assistance through charity wings, sought to stoke anti-India sentiments in flood-affected areas (see Kashmir). Military claimed more than 1,000 militants, some 100 soldiers killed in N Waziristan operation since mid-June. Army spokesman 15 Sept claimed Pakistani Taliban (TTP) no longer able to launch attacks; at least four reported killed in TTP suicide bombing targeting military convoy in Peshawar 23 Sept; two killed in attack targeting senior counter-terrorism police officer in Karachi 25 Sept; at least seven killed in attack on IDP camp in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 28 Sept. TTP faction “Punjabi Taliban” 5 Sept declared intention to halt attacks in Pakistan and focus on Afghanistan, indicating peace deal with military. Other Punjab-based anti-Shia groups continued sectarian killings countrywide including: son of Shia Jafria Alliance Pakistan party leader murdered 6 Sept in Karachi by Lashkar-e-Jhangvi; head of Karachi University Islamic Studies department shot dead 19 Sept. Lieutenant General Rizwan Akhtar appointed new chief of Inter-Services Intelligence 22 Sept. At least 14 suspected militants reported killed in U.S. drone strikes in N and S Waziristan late month.

Pakistan

  |  1 Sep 2014

Deteriorated Risk Alert

Month saw mass anti-govt demonstrations threaten fragile democratic transition, raise fears of military intervention: parallel protests led by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Imran Khan and Pakistan Awami Tehreek leader, cleric Tahirul Qadri, demanded PM Sharif's resignation and parliament's dissolution, rejected govt offers of negotiated settlement. Govt refuted rumours of military support for protests, relied on army for security in Islamabad despite concerns military could exploit crisis to extend political influence at govt’s expense; coup seen as unlikely by observers, opposed by all mainstream political parties, civil society, and superior courts. Khan and Qadri-led protest marches reached Islamabad from Lahore mid-month after at least 4 Qadri supporters killed in clashes with police early month in Punjab; 19 Aug entered Islamabad’s “Red Zone” containing parliament, other official buildings. Fears spread extremists could exploit situation to attack high level targets, provoke violence. Govt sought peaceful resolution including accepting Khan’s demands for audit of 2013 election result in certain constituencies, judicial commission investigation of vote rigging allegations; talks ongoing late month, both Qadri and Khan continued refusing to modify demand for PM’s resignation. Army chief Raheel Sharif 28 Aug met protest leaders, reportedly agreed to act as guarantor for deal with govt; military’s overt role strongly condemned in parliament, PM Sharif 29 Aug insisted govt only requested military facilitation, no request to act as mediator or guarantor; Khan and Qadri denied responsibility for involving military. At least 3 killed, over 200 wounded in clashes between protesters and police 30-31 Aug. Military continued N Waziristan operation, claimed progress in dismantling militant networks; at least 5 alleged militants killed in 6 Aug U.S. drone strike N Waziristan. Militants launched several high profile attacks including: 13 soldiers injured, 11 attackers killed in 14 Aug attacks on 2 Quetta air force bases, claimed by Pakistani Taliban (TTP) and Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU). N Waziristan IDP crisis deteriorated further: military continued to refuse access for local and international humanitarian agencies; vacuum exploited by charity wings of jihadi organisations.

Kashmir

  |  1 Sep 2014

Deteriorated

Sharp deterioration in India-Pakistan relations as FM-level talks, aimed at setting agenda for resuming dialogue process, cancelled by India following 18 Aug meeting between Pakistan’s High Commissioner and Kashmiri separatist leaders in New Delhi. Meeting followed resumption of periodic clashes along Line of Control: at least dozen casualties reported. PM Modi 12 Aug visited Kargil in Jammu and Kashmir, first PM visit since 1999, condemned Pakistan for “proxy war of terrorism against India”; allegation strongly refuted by Pakistan. Unknown gunmen 13 Aug reportedly killed 2 police, 1 civilian in Pulwama district; militants 16 Aug shot dead 2 soldiers outside Pulwama air base.

Nepal

  |  1 Sep 2014

Unchanged

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi early month visited the country, highest level visit in 17 years; India and Nepal held a two-week joint military exercise on counter insurgency, jungle warfare and disaster management late month.

Sri Lanka

  |  1 Sep 2014

Unchanged

Govt continued crackdown on civil society groups following July banning of NGOs from holding press conferences, other public activities; continued to promise more restrictive laws on NGO operations. Several instances of intimidation including: mob led by Buddhist monks 4 Aug broke into church in Colombo, disrupted meeting between activists, diplomats and families of people missing since 2009 civil war; attack condemned by U.S., European govts. Series of armed attacks late month against main opposition party offices and workers during Uva province election campaign. President Rajapaksa 19 Aug said govt will refuse visas for UN investigators probing war crimes accusations, UNHCHR Pilay earlier said investigation can continue without access.

Afghanistan

  |  1 Sep 2014

Unchanged

Election stalemate continued despite U.S. Sec State Kerry early Aug persuading presidential candidates Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani to sign statement pledging support for outcome of ongoing ballot audit process, renewing commitment to July political deal; Ghani campaign days later expressed doubt about power-sharing aspects of deal, Abdullah-supporter Balkh Governor Atta Mohammed Noor warned of possible civil uprisings. Abdullah 27 Aug boycotted audit protesting process for invalidating votes; pledged to rejoin if demands met in talks with UN. Security forces 11 Aug started disarming armed groups in central Parwan province, stronghold of Abdullah support. Economic effect of political deadlock underscored by govt’s 17 Aug announcement of at least 50% decline in revenue since first election round in April. Pakistani newspaper 4 Aug reported Hezb-e-Islami insurgent faction negotiated joining new govt with Abdullah, Ghani; both candidates denied claim. Ministry of Defence 17 Aug rejected talks with Taliban, disavowing statement by special forces commander in Helmand announcing pursuit of local deal with insurgents. Kandahar chief of police, Brigadier-General Abdul Raziq, 7 Aug said 171 insurgents killed in recent operations, Taliban suspects killed rather than captured. Nangarhar province security officials 14 Aug claimed 145 Taliban killed in operation, including 23 Pakistanis.

Bangladesh

  |  1 Sep 2014

Unchanged

Prospects of reconciliation between ruling Awami League (AL) and opposition Bangladesh National Party (BNP) remained slim: govt 4 Aug approved broadcast policy criticised by opposition and civil society for threatening freedom of expression; policy challenged in Supreme Court 18 Aug, BNP held protests in Dhaka. Govt claimed policy merely “guidelines”, not enforceable. Draft act on NGOs pending before parliament: regulates activities of NGOs receiving foreign funds, penalises NGOs allegedly involved in activities deemed “illegal or harmful for country”. Cabinet 18 Aug approved draft constitutional amendment restoring parliament’s authority to impeach Supreme Court judges; criticised by prominent lawyers, former judges for undermining judicial independence. Police continued raids against extremist group Jamaatul Mujahideen Bangladesh, responsible for 2005 bombings, following late July arrest of 3 suspected activists in Dhaka; state minister for home affairs Asaduzzam Khan said JMB regrouping, seeking links with international terrorist groups including al-Qaeda.

Nepal

  |  1 Aug 2014

Unchanged

Deputy PM Bam Dev Gautam 15 July said new constitution to be introduced 22 Jan 2015, preceded by local elections same month. 5-party Maoist alliance 22 July agreed in principle to talks with govt aimed at settling political disputes.

Kashmir

  |  1 Aug 2014

Unchanged

Several incidents of cross-border violence including: Indian army 3 July reportedly killed 3 militants along Line of Control (LoC); Pakistani troops 16 July reportedly fired on Indian border outposts killing soldier; Pakistani civilian reported killed in Indian mortar shelling days later near Punjab border, another Pakistani killed 23 July in Shakargarh; 2 reported killed, including 1 Indian soldier, in separate border incidents 22 July. Lashkar-e-Tayyaba militant reported killed 9 July during joint army-police operation in Kupwara district. 1 police shot dead by militants in Bijbehara town 25 July, another killed in grenade blast during protest in Sopore next day. Pakistani Finance Minister Ishaq Dar 17 July said govt willing to negotiate reduction of negative list of tradable items from India if bilateral dialogue revived, including on Kashmir dispute; commerce ministers scheduled to meet 24 July in Bhutan during eighth SAFTA ministerial council meeting, Indian minister did not attend.

Sri Lanka

  |  1 Aug 2014

Unchanged

Month saw continued fallout from mid-June attacks on Muslim persons and property in SW: official statements endorsed Buddhist nationalist claims Muslims started violence, Sinhalese equal victims. Justice Minister and Sri Lanka Muslim Congress leader Rauff Hakeem continued probing incident after late June alleging police complicity in attacks, accusing officials of falsifying autopsy reports in cases of 3 Muslims shot dead, possibly by police or off-duty security personnel. Many criticised dispatch of military to rebuild damaged areas fearing destruction of evidence, undermining of independent fact-finding efforts. No leaders or known activists of radical Buddhist group widely blamed for instigating violence, Bodu Bala Sena (BBS), among more than 100 suspects arrested; police questioning of BBS leader Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara 2 July widely seen as public relations move. President Rajapaksa 17 July appointed international legal experts to “advise” ongoing commission of inquiry into missing persons, expanded commission’s mandate to include range of war crimes during civil war, including LTTE abuses; move criticised as attempt to undermine ongoing UN OHCHR investigation. Rajapaksa 11 July reappointed retired general G.A. Chandrasiri as northern province governor despite promising Tamil National Alliance he would be replaced by civilian.

Afghanistan

  |  1 Aug 2014

Deteriorated

Election crisis deepened after presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah rejected preliminary results of second round of voting, announced by Independent Election Commission 7 July: former Finance Minister Ashraf Ghani received 56.4%, Abdullah 43.6%. Abdullah’s supporters next day urged him to declare parallel govt. U.S. Sec State Kerry 11-12 July met candidates, agreement reached on 8-point technical framework for auditing all ballot boxes. Audit began 17 July, complicated by delays, procedural disagreements between candidates; postponed 26 July until early Aug. Agreement also reached on political plan for national unity govt with representatives of losing team in key positions; details, including possibly including revived slot of PM, still to be settled. Violence continued across country including: 8 air force personnel reported killed in suicide bombing 2 July in Kabul; 4 insurgents killed in suicide attack on Kabul airport 17 July; suicide bomber 22 July killed 4, including 3 foreign advisors, outside airport. At least 14 Taliban reported killed 5 July after storming security base in north-eastern Badakhshan province; 5 NATO troops among 16 killed in 8 July suicide attack in eastern province of Parwan; at least 28, mostly insurgents, killed 9 July in attacks on governor’s house, police HQ in Kandahar.

Pakistan

  |  1 Aug 2014

Deteriorated

Army operations against tribal militants continued in N Waziristan, causing mass displacement, humanitarian assistance inadequate. Military 15 July claimed to have killed 447 militants, destroyed 88 hideouts; also claimed clearing 80% of N Waziristan’s administrative HQ, Miramshah town, of militants; claim later denied. FATA Disaster Management Authority registered nearly 1mn IDPs fleeing operations by 22 July, majority to neighbouring Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. Military in control of humanitarian response, aid distribution limited: access restricted for foreign aid organisations and local NGOs; reports charity fronts of jihadi organisations allowed to conduct relief activities. Estimated 25,000 residents fled FATA’s Bajaur Agency ahead of anticipated military strikes following 12 July attack killing 3 security personnel; military later reached accord with Bajaur-based militias who pledged to confront anti-state militants themselves. U.S. drone campaign continued in N Waziristan: several reported strikes including 7 suspected militants killed 10 July; 20 killed 16 July; 11 killed 19 July. Police and paramilitary operations continued in Karachi, including 5 suspected militants killed 15 July. Security forces 17 July raided militant safe house near PM Sharif’s home in Lahore, 1 security official, 1 suspect killed. Controversial Protection of Pakistan Bill, criticised for threatening constitutionally protected rights and violating obligations under international law, signed into law 11 July; Senate amendments enhanced some judicial oversight, limited validity to 2 years.

Bangladesh

  |  1 Aug 2014

Unchanged

Tensions between ruling Awami League (AL) and opposition Bangladesh National Party (BNP) remained high: Information Minister Hasanul Haq Inu 11 July accused BNP leader Khaleda Zia of conspiring to seize power with “killers” who participated in 1971 war crimes, 1975 military coup and more recent terrorist plots. Zia renewed calls for mass protests against govt to begin after Eid holiday late July, repeated demands for early elections under non-partisan caretaker govt. Special court trying Zia, her son Tarique Rahman, and others in two graft cases delayed recording deposition of prosecution witness to 3 Sept. Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague 7 July ruled on maritime boundary dispute with India, awarded Bangladesh nearly 80% of Bay of Bengal.

Nepal

  |  1 Jul 2014

Unchanged

Parliamentarians 11 June agreed to form committee to oversee constitution drafting. Maoist factions Communist Party of Nepal (CPN-M) and United Communist Party of Nepal (UCPN-M) continued reunification talks; late month formed alliance with 3 other Maoist parties.

Kashmir

  |  1 Jul 2014

Unchanged

Month saw continued ceasefire violations along Line of Control (LoC); Indian Defence Minister Arun Jaitley 16 June called on Pakistan to end violations. Indian soldier killed in IED explosion 12 June. Pakistani PM Sharif early month sent letter to Indian PM Modi expressing desire for enhanced cooperation, peacebuilding. Militant Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) 9 June blamed India for attack on Pakistan’s Karachi airport (see Pakistan), threatened retaliation; LeT commander reported killed by security forces 1 June in Kupwara district, another killed 23 June in Sopore. 3 separatist militants killed by security forces in Pulwama district 19 June.

Sri Lanka

  |  1 Jul 2014

Deteriorated

Month saw unprecedented violence against Muslims by supporters of radical Buddhist group Bodu Bala Sena (BBS): 4 killed in SW coastal towns Aluthgama and Beruwela 15-16 June, over 100 injured; scores of Muslim businesses, houses, and 3 mosques destroyed or badly damaged. Violence followed BBS rally where leading member, Gnanasara Thero, threatened Muslims; authorities allowed rally despite tensions in Aluthgama following Buddhist attacks on Muslims days earlier, sparked by unconfirmed reports of Muslim assault on monk. Heavily armed police and army largely stood by, failed to stop violence; no charges filed against BBS leaders for incitement; no arrests of BBS activists. President Rajapaksa 19 June promised investigation, accountability; PM Jayaratne 17 June blamed Muslims for attacking BBS marchers, sparking violence; senior officials alleged foreign conspiracy behind violence. Courts blocked 2 BBS rallies late month. Violence condemned by UNSG Ban, UNHCHR Pillay, Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, EU, several NGOs and govts, including U.S.. UN OHCHR 25 June announced names of 3 experts appointed to assist UNHRC-mandated investigation into alleged war crimes during civil war, due to begin July. Parliament 18 June voted to endorse govt’s policy of non-cooperation; main opposition parties abstained or boycotted vote; Tamil National Alliance publicly endorsed investigation.

Pakistan

  |  1 Jul 2014

Deteriorated

Scores killed in attack on Karachi’s international airport 8 June, including 29 mainly airport security and staff, 10 Uzbek militants: attack claimed by Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) and Pakistani Taliban (TTP). TTP claimed another attack on security camp near airport 10 June, no casualties; gunmen 24 June fired on plane landing at Peshawar airport killing 1. Retaliatory army airstrikes targeted militants in NW, including 35 reported killed in Khyber Agency 11 June; govt 14 June announced launch of military operation in N Waziristan, military 2 days later claimed airstrikes had killed 187 militants; N Waziristan residents warned to leave region by 23 June ahead of ground assault beginning 30 June. Hundreds of thousands fled fighting; army 18 June relaxed curfew to allow civilians out, many senior Afghan and Pakistani militants reportedly allowed to leave, some across border to Afghanistan. After 6-month pause, U.S. drone strikes 11 June targeted several militant compounds in N Waziristan killing 16; another strike 18 June killed 6. Insurgent infighting continued: senior commander of TTP splinter group, Ashiqullah Mehsud, killed 4 June. Sectarian violence continued including 30 Shia pilgrims killed by suicide attacker 9 June near border with Iran. Paramilitary forces reportedly killed at least 30 separatists in Balochistan 5 June.

Afghanistan

  |  1 Jul 2014

Risk Alert Unchanged

Political crisis ignited by dispute over result of 14 June runoff presidential vote: leaked, unconfirmed results suggested former Finance Minister Ashraf Ghani won 59%, first-round winner and opponent of President Karzai, Abdullah Abdullah, took 41%; IEC claimed more than 7 million participated despite reports of turnout being lower than during first round in April. Abdullah threatened to reject result: alleged 1 million fraudulent ballots counted, 18 June requested Independent Election Commission (IEC) stop vote-counting, executive director Zia-ul-Haq Amarkhil be suspended; next day rejected IEC’s legitimacy, accused President Karzai of engineering post-election “stalemate”. Several pro-Abdullah street protests late month. Amarkhil 23 June resigned; Abdullah responded by declaring openness to talks with IEC but persisted with demands for overhaul of fraud adjudication process; IEC 29 June rejected demands. Free and Fair Election Foundation of Afghanistan 12 June alleged govt resources used by both candidates during campaign. 33 civilians, 18 Afghan National Army soldiers and 14 Afghan National Police killed in election-day violence. Abdullah 6 June survived assassination attempt, 12 others killed when bomb attack targeted convoy after Kabul campaign rally; at least 28 insurgents reported killed by security forces 1 June; scores reported killed in coordinated Taliban assault across Helmand province late month.

Bangladesh

  |  1 Jul 2014

Unchanged

Tensions increased between ruling Awami League (AL) and opposition Bangladesh National Party (BNP) after opposition calls for dissolution of anti-terrorism Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), criticised for extra-judicial killings and other human rights violations, dismissed by PM Sheikh Hasina Wajid late May. RAB early month discovered weapons caches in NE, allegedly belonging to Assam separatist from India; BNP claimed move part of govt-orchestrated efforts to improve RAB’s image. PM Sheikh Hasina 2 June claimed late BNP founder Ziaur Rehman involved in 1975 killing of her father. At least 9 Urdu-speaking Biharis killed 14 June during clashes with police and ethnic Bengalis in Dhaka refugee camp.

Sri Lanka

  |  1 Jun 2014

Unchanged

Govt 18 May celebrated fifth anniversary of civil war’s end with large military parade, public events in south; military-enforced ban on Tamils commemorating dead in north and east, Jaffna University closed; small Tamil National Alliance (TNA) commemoration 16 May outside provincial council building in Jaffna disrupted by police. TNA 24 May condemned govt listing of Tamil diaspora groups and activists as terrorist supporters; Malaysia 26 May deported 3 Sri Lankan Tamils on suspicion of working to revive LTTE. Newly-elected Indian PM Modi met President Rajapaksa 27 May, urged "early and full implementation" of 13th amendment and further devolution to support national reconciliation. University students 7 May held large demonstration against closure of health services degree program outside president’s residence in Colombo, in violation of police ban; more than dozen student leaders arrested 16 May, reportedly beaten in police custody, at least 4 hospitalised. Ruling party urban councillor shot dead 12 May by unknown gunmen outside Colombo. Former Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake refused to plead guilty or non-guilty to corruption charges 12 May.

Pakistan

  |  1 Jun 2014

Unchanged

No tangible progress in govt’s dialogue process with Pakistani Taliban (TTP): army offensive in N Waziristan continued including scores killed late May in army air strikes on suspected militant hideouts, ground fighting. 9 soldiers killed in roadside bombing 8 May. Several militants reported killed in fighting between rival TTP factions, including over 20 killed 6-8 May; key faction linked with Mehsud tribe announced split from TTP late month. Head of Taliban intermediary committee Maulana Samiul Haq 18 May admitted infighting complicating peace talks with govt. Gunmen 7 May killed Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) member Rashid Rehman in Multan; 26 May killed American-Pakistani doctor in Punjab province. 8 killed in Karachi in criminal and militant violence 3 May.

Nepal

  |  1 Jun 2014

Unchanged

United Communist Party Nepal-Maoists (UCPN), Communist Party Nepal-Maoists (CPN) held reunification talks mid-month; UCPN chairman said ready to hand leadership to CPN chairman if helpful for reunification effort.

Kashmir

  |  1 Jun 2014

Unchanged

Last phase of Indian general elections held 7 May in Jammu and Kashmir: opposition BJP and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) won all seats. Election turnout at 50.1%, up from 39.7% in 2009. Polls relatively calm despite separatist boycotts, demonstrations in several towns and reports of threats to voters. Militants 8 May killed village govt head associated with National Congress in Kulgam district. 2 reported killed when PDP supporters clashed with supporters of losing candidate in Kupwara district 16 May. Several incidents along Line of Control including Indian soldier killed, 2 wounded, in IED explosion 19 May. 2 militants reported killed by police near Srinagar 25 May.

Bangladesh

  |  1 Jun 2014

Unchanged

Leader of opposition Bangladesh National Party (BNP) Khaleda Zia 4 May threatened violent demonstrations if govt refused to step down, same day accused ruling Awami League (AL) party and its political allies of 1 May murdering 7 abductees seized 3 days earlier in Narayanganj district; anti-terrorism Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) accused by relatives of victims of carrying out killings on behalf of local AL leader Nur Hossain. Govt 5 May forced 3 RAB officers to retire; public prosecutors 22 May charged 2 senior officers with murder. Information Minister Hasanul Huq Inu said RAB killed 373 during Zia’s tenure as PM. High Court judge 11 May asked govt to consider amending police laws to guarantee constitutionally protected rights. International Crimes Tribunal, tasked with prosecuting war crimes committed during 1971 independence war, 11 May formally charged and issued arrest warrant for former Jatiya Party legislator Abdul Jabbar; Jabbar found guilty 29 May of crimes including killing 36, forcibly converting 200 Hindus to Islam.

Afghanistan

  |  1 Jun 2014

Unchanged

Final results from April presidential election announced 15 May: former FM Abdullah Abdullah won 45%, former Finance Minister Ashraf Ghani second with 31.6%; second round runoff scheduled for 14 June. Western observers estimated fraud tainted 8-9% of votes, down from 25% in 2009. Independent Election Commission dismissed over 5,000 staff over fraud allegations, announced plans for thousands of additional polling stations in populated areas; observers raised concern about security forces’ ability to protect additional sites. Violence continued including: 13 killed in Taliban attack on Nangarhar provincial justice department 12 May; security forces next day killed senior Taliban member Mullah Abid Rahmani in Zabul Province; militants 23 May attacked Indian consulate in Herat, 3 assailants killed; suicide bomber 26 May killed at least 2 Afghan soldiers in Kabul. U.S. President Obama 27 May announced plans for 9,800 troops to stay after end-2014 expiry of NATO mandate, to be largely withdrawn over 2 years.

Kashmir

  |  1 May 2014

Unchanged

Polls opened 10 April in Jammu and Kashmir for voting in India’s general election, low turnout reported; several separatist militant groups called for boycott, carried out attacks including killing 3 village council heads south of Srinagar. Security forces reportedly opened fire on protesters in Srinagar 30 April, 1 killed; Hurriyat Conference called general strike. 2 militants, 2 police killed 13 April during attack targeting National Conference youth leader and son of high court judge south of Srinagar; police killed both alleged Lashkar-e-Tayyaba attackers. Late-month exchanges of fire between Indian and Pakistani troops across Line of Control, no casualties reported.

Bangladesh

  |  1 May 2014

Unchanged

Political situation remained tense as opposition and domestic observers denounced rigging and violence in ongoing upazila (sub-districts) elections between candidates backed by rival parties and between Awami League (AL) party cadres. Following 5th round of polls 31 March, AL-affiliated candidates had won 221 upazila chairmen posts, securing lead over BNP and JI-allied candidates; 6th round of polls scheduled 19 May. Election Commission said polls thus far free and fair, threatened legal action against those committing election-related violence. Impending anti-corruption trail of Bangladesh National Party (BNP) leader Khaleda Zia, which could see her jailed for life, and prosecutions against Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) members by International Crimes Tribunal (ICT), increased potential for more political unrest. Zia 13 April filed petition with High Court challenging indictment against her and her son and seeking stay order on trial, due to start 21 April. BNP’s joint secretary general 15 April said party preparing national movement to dislodge AL govt should trial proceed. High Court 23 April rejected Zia’s petitions, clearing way for cases to proceed, raising concerns of more BNP-led violent demonstrations and strikes; BNP now appealing to Supreme Court. BNP 22 April began “long march” from Dhaka in bid to gain popular support by criticising govt for failure to reach equitable water-sharing deal with India. ICT 25 March listed 7 charges of “crimes against humanity”, including genocide, against JI members, allegedly committed in 1971 independence war; also recommended party should be permanently banned. ICT 17 April decided to follow through with decision to indict UK journalist David Bergman with contempt of court for criticising its procedural flaws and biases in blog posts.

Afghanistan

  |  1 May 2014

Unchanged

Millions voted in presidential and provincial council elections 5 April; early reports suggest fewer irregularities than previous polls. Insurgent attacks remained near seasonal levels in south and west, but escalated sharply in east making 5 April most violent election day so far; absence of high-profile attacks in urban areas and self-censorship by Afghan media gave appearance of peaceful voting day. Taliban mainly targeted Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) guarding voters and polling sites, few reports of direct interference with electoral process. Several polling sites closed due to security threats, mainly in rural areas. Preliminary result announced 26 April: former FM Abdullah Abdullah led with 44.9%, former Finance Minister Ashraf Ghani second with 31.5%. Several deadly incidents before and after election day: 17 Taliban reported killed in airstrike 8 April, subsequent reports suggested 11 children also killed; 3 Americans killed by security guard at Kabul hospital 24 April. Large attack on army base in SE reportedly repelled late month, 60 militants killed.

Nepal

  |  1 May 2014

Unchanged

Govt 9 April introduced bill offering amnesty for war crimes to former Maoist rebels, govt forces; UN human rights chief Navi Pillay said amnesty violates international law, would “weaken foundation for a genuine and lasting peace”.

Pakistan

  |  1 May 2014

Unchanged

Pakistani Taliban (TTP) 16 April announced end to ceasefire despite prisoner releases by govt early month; announcement followed outbreak of infighting between rival TTP factions in Waziristan that reportedly killed over 40 early April; both TTP and govt declared continued willingness to hold talks. 1 killed 18 April in attack on govt forces near Peshawar, 3 troops killed in roadside bombing 27 April on border between N and S Waziristan; army 24 April launched airstrikes on militants in Khyber Agency, 37 reported killed. 22 killed in Islamabad bombing 9 April, TTP denied involvement. National Assembly 7 April passed controversial counterterrorism bill, criticised by observers for violating constitution and international law; bill awaiting deliberation in opposition-controlled Senate. Sectarian violence continued with at least 12 killed in Karachi 9 April; at least 3 children killed 28 April in attack on religious school in Karachi; 2 Hazaras killed by gunmen in Quetta 12 April. Military 7 April claimed to have killed 30 Baloch militants; Baloch group next day claimed responsibility for 31 March attack on Quetta-Rawalpindi train that killed 16.

Sri Lanka

  |  1 May 2014

Unchanged

Crackdown on Tamil activists in north and east that started mid-March continued: military 10 April killed 3 Tamils who govt alleged were working to revive LTTE; scores arrested March/April remain detained without charge under anti-terrorism laws. Govt 4 April released text of new regulation announced 31 March designating LTTE and 15 Tamil diaspora organisations as terrorist organisations, effectively criminalising contact with such organisations by Sri Lankan citizens. Tamil National Alliance (TNA) leaders visited South Africa 9-11 April to discuss South African efforts to restart govt-TNA negotiations. Leader of radical Buddhist group Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) and supporters 9 April disrupted inaugural press conference of group fostering Buddhist-Muslim cooperation; BBS supporters mid-April stormed offices of govt ministry headed by Muslim in search of rival Buddhist monk in hiding. Newly-established police unit to investigate religious hate crimes reportedly received nearly 300 complaints, over 280 from Muslims, on first day of operations late April. Govt supporters, including local mayor carrying gun, 17 April violently disrupted visit by UNP opposition parliamentarians in president’s home district Hambantota.

Pakistan

  |  1 Apr 2014

Unchanged

Militant attacks continued as talks between govt and Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) revived: TTP 1 March announced month-long ceasefire; bombs targeting polio vaccination workers’ convoy killed 11 police in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province same day; 3 March suicide attack on Islamabad court killed at least 11, injured 24, TTP splinter group Ahrar-ul-Hind claimed responsibility. Ahrar-ul-Hind bombing 14 March targeting Frontier Corps van in Quetta and market in Peshawar killed at least 18 civilians. Reconstituted govt negotiating team met TTP committee 14 March in FATA: TTP demanded release of 300 non-combatants, creation of free travel “peace zone” in S Waziristan. Govt and TTP held direct talks in N Waziristan 26 March. TTP 30 March announced ceasefire extended beyond 31 March. Interior minister 2 March said govt will halt air strikes on terrorist hideouts; defence minister Khawaja Asif 7 March warned strikes will resume if insurgent attacks continue. Madrasa students in Sindh’s Larkana district 15 March burned Hindu temple after alleged act of blasphemy by Hindu community member. 10 March UN report called for independent investigations of drone attacks in Pakistan. Former President Musharraf formally indicted for high treason 31 March.

Kashmir

  |  1 Apr 2014

Unchanged

Protests erupted in Jammu and Kashmir after security forces killed teenager in Srinagar 14 March; govt imposed curfew, arrested separatist leaders including Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front leader Yasin Malik. PM Sharif 24 March asked for U.S. assistance to settle Kashmir dispute in meeting with Sec State Kerry. Tensions over normalisation of bilateral trade ties continued. Security forces killed 3 suspected militants in Kathua following 28 March terror attack that killed 2.

Afghanistan

  |  1 Apr 2014

Unchanged

Insurgent attacks continued ahead of 5 April presidential polls: Taliban 10 March threatened to “use all force” to disrupt polls, warned Afghans not to vote; official 12 March reported 3 campaign workers shot dead; Taliban 20 March attacked Serena hotel in Kabul, killed 9 including 1 international election observer; 2 foreign election observation missions pulled out staff. Taliban attack killed 11 police in Jalalabad 20 March. Taliban 25 March attacked Independent Election Commission (IEC) office in Kabul, killing 5, and IEC HQ 29 March; security forces killed at least 4 attackers. President Karzai announced support for former FM Zalmai Rassoul in elections after brother Qayum Karzai withdrew 6 March. Former Defence Minister Abdul Rahim Wardak also pulled out 16 March. Karzai 12 March reiterated opposition to signing Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) with U.S. before elections, said country does not need troops. Govt 20 March released another 55 detainees from Bagram prison. 6 March NATO air strike accidently killed at least 5 Afghan soldiers, injured 8 in eastern Logar province. Anti-insurgency operations continued: 16 insurgents killed 14 March; govt 3 March said Taliban insurgents driven from strongholds in Helmand province.

Nepal

  |  1 Apr 2014

Unchanged

Constituent Assembly (CA) 21 March approved regulations paving way for constitution-drafting process. Leaders of Nepali Congress (NC), Communist Party of Nepal (CPN-UML) and UCPN-Maoist 25 March agreed to form High-Level Political Committee to prepare new constitution; 27 March agreed on roadmap to facilitate constitution-writing process. CPN-UML 23 March decided to exert pressure on govt and Election Commission to hold local elections by mid-June.

Sri Lanka

  |  1 Apr 2014

Unchanged

UN Human Rights Council (HRC) 27 March passed resolution with 23 yes votes (12 opposed, 3 abstained) criticising Sri Lanka govt for impunity for rights violations and lack of reconciliation; established investigation by OHCHR into alleged war crimes by govt and LTTE. Govt won easy victory in western and southern provincial council elections 29 March, though with reduced majorities; President Rajapaksa, other govt candidates used HRC process and threat of “international intervention” to win votes, sharply criticised Tamil National Alliance (TNA) for supporting HRC resolution. Govt launched military and police crackdown in N and E, alleging attempt to revive LTTE; increased pressure on human rights activists and NGOs, accused of propagating “false information” to tarnish govt’s image internationally. 6 activists arrested, others threatened mid-March; 2 activists held 48 hours under Prevention of Terrorism Act released 16 March following international outcry. Govt 7 March suspended excavation of mass grave outside Mannar following excavation of over 80 bodies.

Bangladesh

  |  1 Apr 2014

Unchanged

Special anti-corruption court 19 March indicted Bangladesh National Party (BNP) leader Khaleda Zia on charges dating from her last term as PM 2001-2006, could see her jailed for life; Zia’s son and political heir Tarique Rehman, currently in self-exile in London, also indicted. Zia rejected charges as politically motivated, vowed to restart protests to oust Awami League (AL) govt, prompting fears of renewed political tensions, violence. Zia’s trial due to start 21 April. Continued violence surrounding ongoing non-party upazila (local body) elections amid opposition allegations of rigging by AL and its supporters; at least 7 killed, hundreds injured in violence during 3rd and 4th round voting and during campaigning. In 15 March speech to Supreme Court Bar Association Zia urged opposition groups to launch movement against AL’s “killer and repressive government”. Following BNP-allied candidates’ lead in 1st and 2nd rounds, AL-affiliated candidates took lead following 3rd and 4th rounds. In continuing war crimes cases against Jamaat-e-Islami leaders, prosecution in case against Jamaat leader Motiur Rahman Nizami 12 March reiterated demand for death penalty. Govt minister 14 March announced that Jamaat would be banned by June 2014 for its role in 1971 war crimes. ICT set April date for decision on contempt of court proceedings against UK journalist David Bergman for criticising tribunal’s procedural flaws and biases towards prosecution in blog posts.

Bangladesh

  |  1 Mar 2014

Unchanged

PM Sheikh Hasina consolidated new govt following Jan re-election of her Awami League (AL) party; opposition street protests subsided, reflecting apparent loss of appetite domestically, international pressure on opposition BNP. Following its boycott of Jan elections, BNP decided to contest upazila (local body) polls, technically a non-party election; achieved significant lead over other parties in 1st and 2nd phase of polls 20, 27 Feb. Some violence during polls; 1 AL activist killed following clash between AI and BNP supporters in Chaugachla, 1 killed after police fired on Jamaat-e-Islami supporters in Sonaimuri. 2 main parties yet to enter into talks to improve relations despite international pressure; BNP top party committee passed resolution 6 Feb calling govt and 10th parliament illegal and unconstitutional. 30 Jan sentencing of 14 men, mostly with links to opposition parties, to death for involvement in 2004 arms smuggling case, further aggravated BNP-AL tensions. Audio tape purportedly from al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri mid-Feb called on Bangladesh’s Muslims to wage “intifada” and “massive public uprising in defence of Islam against enemies of Islam”; citing police action against May 2013 Islamist rally charged that “massacre of Muslims is being carried out”. AL MP 16 Feb accused BNP and ally Jamaat-e-Islami of maintaining ties to al-Qaeda; BNP strongly refuted, accusing govt of “suicidal ploy to divide the nation and the people for its own political interests”. Jamaat and Islamist umbrella group Hefajet-e-Islam also denied links to al-Qaeda. Cabinet 17 Feb approved 5-year extension of speedy trial bill, which has seen due process subverted in high-profile cases against Jamaat and its allies, aggravating tensions between the 2 main parties.

Kashmir

  |  1 Mar 2014

Unchanged

Cross-Line of Control (LoC) trade resumed after Pakistan and India 12 Feb agreed to release stranded trucks and drivers, following 17 Jan detention of Pakistani truck driver for alleged drug smuggling. Indian trade minister cancelled planned attendance at India Trade Show in Lahore mid-Feb amid concerns about operationalisation of Jan trade pact to grant liberalised trade status by end-Feb. Protests broke out in Kupwara region after Indian army 24 Feb killed 7 civilians mistaken for rebels; strike in Kashmir Valley 28 Feb. 2 Hizbul Mujahideen Indian separatist group members killed 13 Feb in encounter with security forces in Sophian, S Kashmir.

Sri Lanka

  |  1 Mar 2014

Unchanged

U.S. 1 Feb officially announced intention to table resolution at March UN HRC calling for Sri Lankan govt to “do more to promote reconciliation, democratic governance, justice and accountability”; resolution expected to call for international inquiry into war crimes allegations. EU Foreign Affairs Council 10 Feb confirmed support for accountability efforts, including independent investigation. UN OHCHR report to HRC 24 Feb called for “independent, international inquiry mechanism” into allegations of war crimes by govt and LTTE forces; govt rejected report as “unwarranted interference in the internal affairs of a sovereign state”. Senior govt delegation 19 Feb visited newly appointed South African special envoy to Sri Lanka in Pretoria to discuss reconciliation issues. Govt using HRC process to bolster support in western and southern provincial council elections scheduled for 29 March. Main opposition United National Party (UNP) 13 Feb announced support for domestic war crimes inquiry, criticised govt human rights and governance record. Over 80 bodies recovered in past 2 months from mass grave outside northern town Mannar.

Pakistan

  |  1 Mar 2014

Unchanged

Govt 6 Feb restarted talks with militant group Tehreek-e-Taliban (TTP); talks suspended 17 Feb after TTP revealed 23 Frontier Corps (FC) soldiers held since 2010 executed. Govt 18 Feb set unconditional ceasefire as requirement for continuation of negotiations; TTP 21 Feb said prepared to talk if military operations end, 26 Feb fully rejected proposal. At least 100 killed, including civilians, in series of govt airstrikes targeting insurgent bases in N Waziristan and Khyber Agency 20-25 Feb. Senior army officer killed 18 Feb in TTP attack. Taliban leader Mawlawi Abdul Raqib assassinated 17 Feb in Peshawar. Sectarian violence continued: Shia scholar Haji Sardar Ali shot dead by TTP 4 Feb in Peshawar; 9 Shia killed, 50 injured by bomb in Peshawar 5 Feb; gunmen 10 Feb attacked Sufi religious gathering in Karachi, killed 8. Militant extremists 2 Feb issued ultimatum to minority Kalash “kafirs” threatening attacks if they do not convert to Islam. 8 killed in 16 Feb train bombing between Peshawar and Karachi, Baloch radicals claimed responsibility.

Nepal

  |  1 Mar 2014

Unchanged

10 Feb elected Sushil Koirala of Nepali Congress (NC) new PM with 405 out of 601 votes after political parties failed to agree on consensus PM. Koirala 25 Feb formed cabinet, 10 members each from NC and main coalition partner Communist Party of Nepal (CPN-UML), latter awarded home and foreign ministries. CPN-UML’s Subash Chandra Nembang elected CA chair 18 Feb; appointment supported by NC.

Afghanistan

  |  1 Mar 2014

Unchanged

Presidential election campaign began 2 Feb, first televised debate held 4 Feb with 5 out of 11 candidates. Taliban 18 Feb attacked presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah’s convoy in Surobi, Kabul; 2 elections campaigners killed in Herat 1 Feb. Govt 13 Feb released 65 Bagram prison detainees despite U.S. objections; President Karzai accused U.S. of not respecting Afghan sovereignty. Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) with U.S. still unsigned; NATO Sec Gen 20 Feb said Karzai’s successor likely to sign deal. U.S. President Obama 25 Feb informed Karzai plans underway for full U.S. troop withdrawal by end 2014; NATO 27 Feb agreed to plan for all options, including full withdrawal. Hezb-i-Islami suicide bomb attack in Kabul killed 2 NATO contractors 10 Feb; 2 U.S. troops killed, 4 injured 12 Feb in attack in E Kapisa province. Roadside bomb 9 Feb killed 7 Afghan soldiers in Farah province. Taliban killed 21 Afghan soldiers, kidnapped 7 after storming army outpost in Kunar 24 Jan. Karzai 17 Feb ordered last-minute changes to domestic abuse law after pressure from Western, Afghan women’s rights activists.

Afghanistan

  |  1 Feb 2014

Deteriorated

Taliban attack on restaurant in Kabul 17 Jan killed at least 21, including 13 foreigners, among them IMF country head and 4 UN staff members, in worst attack on foreign civilians since 2001. Taliban attacks continued: suicide bombers 4 Jan attacked NATO HQ in Shinwar district, killed 1; assault on NATO base outside Kandahar 20 Jan killed 1; suicide bomber detonated bomb next to police bus in Kabul 12 Jan, injuring 6 police. National Directorate of Security 8 Jan reportedly averted assassination attempt on deputy director, arrested 3 suspects. Internal political pressure on President Karzai to sign Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) with U.S. continued; tensions between U.S. and Afghanistan increased 25 Jan when Karzai said would not sign deal unless peace talks with Taliban restarted. Karzai 9 Jan defied U.S. by authorising release of 72 prisoners from former U.S.-run Bagram prison.

Nepal

  |  1 Feb 2014

Unchanged

Newly elected Constituent Assembly (CA) members sworn in 21 Jan, 2 months after elections, amid sit-in protest by 3 dozen UCPN-Maoist MPs; party leaders 22 Jan vowed to draw up new constitution within year. Differences between Nepali Congress (NC) and Communist Party of Nepal Unified Marxist-Leninist (CPN-UML) concerning new presidential elections resolved after Supreme Court 24 Jan ruled interim president could remain in place until constitution formation. Leading party NC started negotiations on power sharing and distributing key CA posts with runner-up in elections CPN-UML. President Yadav 26 Jan pressed political parties to form consensus govt in 7 days. Sushil Koirala seen as most likely next PM following appointment as NC leader 26 Jan. Supreme Court 3 Jan ruled serious human rights violations may not be covered by amnesties in future truth and reconciliation commission.

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CrisisWatch N°134

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